Please find below the
The underlying assumption in this proposal is that there is some 'knowledge' in Universities and Governments (including Met services), that if it were transferred to farmers routinely and in real time, would dramatically increase their crop yields. The proposal is a bit vague regarding what this information might be, but it could include weather reports and/or market prices. I am dubious that the limiting constraint to agricultural productivity in these countries is easy access to new or real time technical information by phone. The proposal certainly does not show this to be the case. I also suspect that the farmers are themselves rather knowledgeable. Perhaps a platform that allowed farmers to share information with each other would be more useful than one that brought information from 'experts' outside their community? The proposal has much detail on how to set up a call center technically, which is relatively easy, but ignores how to staff it and how to ensure these staff have tractable relevant information and avoid false alarms (indeed all aspects of the information content to be provided), which is very difficult. I gave a low rating for novelty because many developing countries already have such call centers - perhaps the authors could have a look at these and assess what impact the existing ones have already had in order to strengthen their proposal for new ones (eg Uganda http://www.naads.or.ug/data/sdmenu/41/National%20Farmer%20Call%20Centre.html or India http://www.dackkms.gov.in/Account/Login.aspx). In terms of relevance to this particular contest, it is not stated in the proposal which previous colab proposals are relevant, which SDG's the proposal is addressing or, in particular, how 'synergy' would allow progress on more than one SDG.
Other considerations include feasibility: specialists with 10/15 years of experience might be overqualified to work in a call center. How to attract private investors? Seems easily scalable. Regarding impact: could they take call from other countries in Africa (which is what the call center in Ghana does). Presentation: the proposal could have been more persuasive by drawing from examples of existing call centers and the experiences of countries that have tried to exploit the growth of ICT to assist rural farmers (e.g. Esoko call center in Ghana, Krishi Cal center in Bangladesh http://odimpact.org/case-ghanas-esoko.html). The proposal could be made more innovative by further capitalizing on the power of open data and introducing a double exchange: farmers get access to information, in exchange for provide information about their crops, local climate conditions etc. Furthermore, are there opportunities for provisioning aggregated data to be funding source?
Whilst call centres could be an important innovation - and making agricultural and climate information available in local languages is laudable, there are probably more novel services from ICT that could fulfil this function and more. The costs also seem extremely high. The proposal could maybe be used as an information/ICT supplement to other proposals.
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