How does one place a value on communication? It is probably the most important aspect of life. To teach and to learn. To tell another how you feel. With these we make a living and a life.
Information and communication technology (ICT) is transforming inter-actions between people and economies worldwide. In an ever increasing global economy, ICT enables us to access and to store information, as well as to communicate instantly. Media – be it radio, magazines, television – forms part of ICT.
ICT has been identified as one of the country’s five “sunrise” industries (AMT, 2015), with every cent invested here likely to pay off with growth and jobs. Back in 2014 it was also identified as a game changer for African agriculture (Kofi Annan, 2014). We have several stories on file about how immediate access to ICT enables farmers with marketing decisions (including talking to customers) as well as the day-to-day operations on the farm e.g. a technical query when a tractor breaks down.
This chapter is a modest attempt to look at the agricultural media and ICT available in this country (and beyond).
|Nancy Richards (SAfm) interviews Inge Kotze, senior manager of WWF SA's Sustainable Agriculture.|
|Living Land crew in action. Photos used courtesy of Helen Gordon, WWF SA|
A shortened form of “application software”, an app is a computer programme designed to run on cell phones and tablets. In the beginning, an app offered basic services on your phone: access to emails, stock market, the weather, calendar included. Quickly, other information was added – an alternative way to receive media content, for example, and there are now billions of apps available including several thousand agriculture-related ones.
Apps can work with other technology, like probes inserted into the soil to let you know what the groundwater level is. Apps can identify major pests and diseases in crops, help plan fertiliser applications and meet soil nutrient needs, give you access to operator manuals and materials from training courses etc. Crop outlook and weather/climate apps can assist government departments and insurance companies to anticipate unfavourable conditions. They can also determine problem areas, scale of damage and appropriate disaster management interventions.
Popular apps include My New Holland, Cropalyser, Just In Time Nutrient Calculator, PANNAR Sprout and AgDNA. The AgriCloud App, a mobile phone planting application, is an output of Rain for Africa (R4A) (see “Weather & climate” chapter). It is aimed at addressing gaps in information available to small scale farmers. Read the Parliamentary Monitoring Group account of its presentation at https://pmg.org.za/committee-meeting/26991/.
3. Books and Journals
Find the “Websites and publications” heading in the different chapters of this publication. Many books and journals are listed there in their relevant sectors.
Strategic approach to Farming Success by Dr Wimpie Nell and Mr Rob Napier. This book is designed to assist the farmer/management team in thinking strategically and imaginatively about the future of the farming business. Write to wimnell [at] farmingsuccess.com or call 082 882 9777. Read about the book at www.farmingsuccess.co.za.
Finance and Farmers, now in its fifth edition, goes a long way in helping you to manage your risks more effectively. To order a copy, phone 011 636 6162.
Kejafa Knowledge Works is a publisher and distributor of agricultural books. Visit www.kejafa.com. Numerous other role players like Agriconnect and Media 24 (Landbouweekblad) stock some publications as well.
Provincial Departments of Agriculture also stock publications and reports. Take a look at the “Agric publications” option at www.kzndard.gov.za for example. Contact details for the provinces can be found in the “Agriculture in the Provinces” chapter.
Find the South African Journal of Agricultural Extension, published annually by the South African Society for Agricultural Extension (SASAE), at www.ajol.info (African Journals Online). Find other journals of interest here e.g. African Crop Science Journal, African Journal of Food and Nutritional Security, and African Journal of Range and Forage Science.
Find the journals at www.tandfonline.com, Taylor & Francis online.
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