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Category Archives: Agriculture

ICT enhanced agriculture: Imaginings coming true

Academic publication moves at a snail’s pace. A chapter that I wrote for a futures book that came out in 2013 was actually written in 2010. This is what I said about agriculture: The move to a knowledge-based economy did not mean the end of agriculture, but the blending of agriculture and knowledge. The massive […]

Agriculture big data: Where it exists in datafied form, concerns re what can be done with it

US agriculture was early to use ICTs to improve efficiency. I recall sharing stories of information-savvy farmers with my classes in Ohio in the early 1990s. Now data is available of soil and weather conditions at a micro-level and farmers are beginning to be concerned that this big data when combined with other data could […]

LIRNEasia at conference on food security

LIRNEasia was invited to participate in the symposium on Food System Innovation in South and Southeast Asia. The event was organised by the Michigan State University (MSU) and The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) in New Delhi, India. The symposium largely featured research on climate change, population growth, irrigation, land use and agriculture innovations. These were […]

Little data, thanks to smartphones

Little data is as bad a term as big data. Really tells you very little. But sadly that is what the New York Times has chosen to use. And I have not had time to come up with something little more insightful. David Soloff is recruiting an army of “hyperdata” collectors. The company he co-founded, […]

LIRNEasia research utilized in FAO report

In April 2012, LIRNEasia participated in a regional FAO workshop held in Bangkok. The workshop brought together representatives from the agriculture ministries/ departments of 10 countries in Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam), FAO personnel as well as the private sector, including operators of Mobile Agricultural Information Services (MAIS). […]

Mobiles improve a market, but harm AIDS/HIV prevention

We have always been interested in how mobile technology can reduce the frictions of time and space and thereby improve the functioning of markets. If the market being improved is that for agri produce, there is no disagreement. Eliminating the middle (wo)man would call forth a wave of approbation. But in the case being reported, […]

Low-cost ICTs in Agriculture – Workshop Report

Several Canadian and Sri Lankan organizations held a workshop in Peradeniya on Oct. 15 to provide an introduction to and basic training in the use of free and open source software (FOSS) to enable agricultural community groups and individuals to implement and use easily-accessible tools for communication, information collection, knowledge sharing, data visualization, and interactive […]

One vision of how agricultural supply chains will be reformed (and smallholders will benefit)

Technocrats (and people like us who emphasize the rational) would prefer a rational, integrated solution. But we rarely get greenfield opportunities. In almost all cases vested interests dominate. So the reform that gets done is imperfect and messy. This is the message P Chidambaram, Minister of Finance seems to be giving to NYT. The gates […]

The Internet of cows

Most people have heard of the Internet of things, where devices such as refrigerators would communicate with other devices or with people. But this is about sensors embedded in cows talking to the mobile phone of the farmer. When Christian Oesch was a boy on his family’s hog farm, cellphones were a thing of the […]

Invitation to Participate in an Agriculture Technology for Development Workshop

Date: October 15, 2012 Time: 09:00 AM – 1:00 PM Location: Inservice Training Institute, Gannoruwa, Peradeniya The Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with LIRNEasia, University of Peradeniya Faculty of Agriculture, University of Alberta, and University of Guelph will be hosting a workshop on the use of low cost information and communication technology (ICT) for individuals […]

Taking back “value-added” smallerholder research findings to smallholders in rural Sri Lanka

Badalkumbura is located in the Moneragala District, one of the most impoverished in Sri Lanka. But it is located in the midst of a smallholder boom in rubber. Here, the key advantage is the weather. In contrast to the traditional rubber districts where rain prevents tapping of the trees for latex sometimes for half the […]

Cloud apps for smartphone in US agriculture

Lots of ideas for people thinking up new applications for agriculture, anywhere. FarmLogs, however, uses the pricing format of software-as-a-service start-up: a free trial, no setup fees, and monthly plans based on the size of operations. Costs range from $9 a month for the smallest farm to $99 a month for farms of more than […]

Make govt data available to app developers: LIRNEasia at Future Gov SAARC Summit

A high profile regional event intended to foster exchange of ideas among government officials and their suppliers attracted participants from the region as well as many from within government here in Sri Lanka. I was given the opportunity to present LIRNEasia’s research in 15 minutes in the first session. I chose to highlight the agriculture […]

Smallholder Quality Penalty in Bangladesh Jute supply chain

An op-ed by Harsha de Silva, PhD, in Daily Star, Bangladesh focuses on the Smallholder Quality Penalty (SQP) in the jute supply chains. The SQP is the financial penalty on the market price imposed on the smallholder by the first-handler (generally a collector) due to uncertainty over produce quality. This allows the first-handler to offset […]

LIRNEasia lead economist at Sri Lanka IT conference

LIRNEasia’s Lead Consultant Economist, Harsha de Silva, gave a keynote speech at the 30th National Information Technology Conference being held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 9th to 11th July 2012. Talking from an national economic development perspective, Harsha articulated the role of ICTs in growth as a transformative economic catalyst that can provide a platform […]

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