CCARDESA and GIZ host a brainstorming workshop to co-design a climate smart agriculture mobile app for the SADC Region
The age of digitalisation has brought about a lot of changes in the way organisations are working and many are adapting their ways of working to take on board the opportunities information and communication technologies have to offer. The SADC GIZ programme on Adaptation to Climate Change in Rural Areas (ACCRA), together with its implementing partner Center for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA), are no exception to the rule.
In their quest to keep up with the latest technologies and innovations, the duo is exploring the use of mobile apps for agricultural extension advisors and smallholder farmers so that they can easily access climate smart agriculture information on their mobile phones. This will help extension advisors learn about climate-smart agriculture and keep up-to-date information at their fingertips. The app will be linked to the CCARDESA knowledge and information hub (ccardesa.org) which houses regional agricultural knowledge and information on climate smart agriculture, value chains such as maize, livestock, sorghum, and rice, and many other topics.
To ensure that the CCARDESA mobile app is one of its kind, a workshop was convened in March 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Specialists with a background in ICT/Mobile app development, agricultural extension and who have developed similar apps were invited to co-design the technical design and functionality of the CCARDESA Mobile app. The participants shared lessons learned including good practices and risks from their implementation of mobile apps. This was done so that CCARDESA can learn from existing experiences and does not fall into the same major pitfalls.
The mobile app is currently under development – with functionalities including a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) quiz, knowledge products and discussion groups. It also encourages users to submit success stories and lessons learnt on CSA for regional sharing. CCARDESA and ACCRA are optimistic that the mobile app will help strengthen the capacities at the local level to respond to the impacts of climate change on agricultural production, by making existing information easily available to extension workers who are directly connected to farmers.