February 4, 2021
On February 3, AgResults participated in a webinar hosted by Agrilinks that explored how digital agricultural services and platforms can make development efforts more sustainable – even after an aid program ends. In this event, Parasto Hamed of AgResults joined experts from the USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, RTI International, and Nuru International to show how their programs are supporting and enabling ICT platforms to scale and sustain for the long run.
Senior Digital Advisor Josh Woodward from the USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security started by welcoming participants to the webinar and briefly introducing the panelists and the theme of how #ICTforAg can drive journeys to sustainability.
During AgResults’ portion, Ms. Hamed presented on the Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project, a Pay-for-Results prize competition that uses a digital tool to track dairy input sales and delivery. Ms. Hamed demonstrated how the project’s Data Collection and Tracking System (DCTS) is shaping competing input suppliers’ approaches to gathering data, in turn driving shifts in business models as they learn more about their consumers.
“We started seeing investments being made by competitors as they were able to leverage the project and access finance and invest in items they needed,” said Ms. Hamed. “We’ve seen all our suppliers invest and purchase the tools they need to participate and better understand their consumers.”
In time, stronger supplier-producer relationships should translate into a more resilient dairy value chain, positioning the sector for long-term sustainability. Not only will the DCTS facilitate value chain linkages during the project, but the hope is that market actors will continue to leverage the tool to sustain behaviors and drive business decisions after the project ends. In this way, AgResults’ prize competition model provides one journey to sustainability.
After AgResults’ presentation, Jean-Michel Voisard from RTI International looked at the Feed the Future Senegal Naatal Mbay Project and how it enabled farmer groups to self-manage data-driven decision tools. Two seasons after the project has ended, its data tools are still in use – and have supported local responses to COVID-19.
“The models that work are the ones that are based on very robust data collection systems,” said Mr. Voisard. “But there’s also a challenge for platform developers to rethink flexibility and adaptability. Projects have to invest in and work with those platforms so that the systems can really develop versatility.”
Rounding out the session was Casey Harrison from Nuru International, who presented Nuru’s model to mainstream and embed appropriate and disruptive technologies into farmer organizations for sustained use.
Following the presentations, the audience – at one point, 351 people – engaged the panelists in a lively discussion. The conversation explored ideas such as data ownership and privacy, the influence of enabling environments, and inclusivity.
“Inclusion is not a passive activity. It’s not something we can assume will come with availability,” said Mr. Harrison. “Inclusion is an action, and it requires intentionality in programming and how you develop your business model and target your specific customers.”
This webinar wrapped up #ICTforAg Month, during which Agrilinks explored themes that arose during the ICTforAg2020 Conference from November 2020, including the role of systems-oriented solutions, digital inclusion, and private sector engagement.
Missed out on the real-time action of the webinar? View the session recording and all past events on the Agrilinks YouTube channel.
Funded by USAID (US), FCDO (UK), DFAT (Australia), GAC (Canada), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AgResults has designed and implemented prize competitions since 2013 that focus on spurring fundamental change in market relationships between the private sector and smallholder farmers.