Paper short abstract:
From mobile based weather advisory services to e-markets, agriculture development has experimented with digital interventions for the betterment of smallholder farmers in developing countries. My presentation will give an overarching framework to understand these trends and map future possibilities
Paper long abstract:
Michael Porter's Value Chain Analysis was originally designed to understand how organizations create value and to identify the important information linkages between various departments that could give organizations a comparative advantage. This paper applies Value Chain Analysis to small holder farming to understand the important information linkages and derive an overarching framework that helps to identify digital design that could position small holder farmers on the path to economic prosperity. Based on the analysis, a notable distinction of small holder farming is the fair amount of dispersion of various activities across very loosely coupled institutions. For instance, every organization has an R&D department which is listed as one of the support functions by Porter. This department aspires to bring technological edge and efficiency across the enterprise. In the case of small holder farmers however, R&D is done by public and private institutions and universities which then rely on traditional Agriculture Extension Systems for transmission of R&D outputs to small holder farmers. There have been various digital interventions that have attempted to supplement and complement the traditional extension systems. While some of these interventions are evolutionary in nature, off late we are witnessing disruptive innovations.
Based on the analysis, the paper identifies five broad areas where digital tools can have a transformative effect: Knowledge dissemination, Peer to Peer collaboration, Governance, Market Linkages (Input and Output) and Agriculture Operations. The paper highlights the possible evolutionary and disruptive interventions in each of these areas and identifies recurring sub-themes that underpin these digital interventions