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'A' is for agriculture: A Review of Information and Communication Technologies for Agricultural Extension in Developing Countries

This report outlines how ICT (information and communications technology) could facilitate the adoption of agricultural technologies that can contribute to improving crop yields in developing countries.

It reviews existing agricultural extension services — programmes that deliver information to farmers — which use ICT, categorised by the type of services and how they are provided (by text, for example, or the Internet). The report concludes that although these programs are innovative, implementing them remains a challenge and evidence of their impact is limited. It is not yet clear that ICT-based services will replace existing agricultural extension systems, and there is a risk that they will become unsustainable — a fad with limited impact on the lives of the poor. The report suggests evaluating pilot programmes using rigorous methods, and says that future efforts should calculate demand and cost-effectiveness, and identify information best suited to such programmes.