Innovation for Effective Use of Tablets Designed for Rice Farming Support (Lire en français)
Possible approaches might include, but not limited to:
Information collection on irrigated rice farming using tablet computers Solutions for more effective use of tablet computers
JICA has conducted continuously agricultural supports of rice production in Senegal and, at present, the Project for Improvement of Rice Productivity in the Senegal River Valley (PAPRIZ2) has been underway since 2016. This project has supported Programme National d’Autosuffisance en Riz (PNAR), a part of the Accelerated Programme for Agriculture in Senegal (2014–2018), which was a state-run plan by the Senegalese government that aimed to increase the yields in rice production. Especially, it has provided cooperation in such fields as farming technologies, irrigation infrastructure maintenance and management, rice milling, and agriculture-related services, with an aim to increase Senegalese rice production:
The National Company for the Development and Exploitation of the Senegal River Delta, Senegal River and Faleme Valley (SAED), which is an organization conducting PAPRIZ2 and responsible for promoting the development of irrigated farming on the left bank of the Senegal River, plans introducing E-Extension/Monitoring, which uses ICT for promoting and monitoring rice production. As one proposal, tablet devices are distributed to all agricultural extension workers (about 60 persons) as a tool to implement their technical promotion at yield. In addition, there is a plan to input the questionnaire (extension/monitoring sheet) into the tablet and send it to the SAED headquarters for effective and efficient use of the data.
In this challenge, the above mentioned tablet applications will be realized through demonstration experiments, and further possibilities for effective use of the tablets will be solicited. (Examples of effective use include extension and monitoring management to visualize the activities of extension workers, diagnosis of pests and diseases and weed control methods using images of crops, delivery of agricultural technical guidance content for extension workers and farmers using tablets, online training, etc.)
- JICA will provide Proof of Concept (PoC) opportunity by providing the PoC fund of up to 3~5 million yen
- If the PoC is successful, there are possibilities for technologies/services to be introduced in JICA projects (PAPRIZ2, etc.)
- JICA will support the PoC by introducing the government agencies and public institutions in the country
POINTS TO CONSIDER
■ Where the solution is to be used:
Upland rice fields in the Senegal River basin (approx. 80K ha. 44K ha for dry-season cropping and 25K ha for rainy-season cropping in 2015/2016) in Dagana and Podor Province, Saint-Louis Region, Senegal. In this area, high-yield paddy rice （Sahel series） is grown.
Agricultural extension workers who are engaged in activities for promoting technologies, supporting for management, and monitoring rice farmers (approx. 60 agricultural extension workers are employed by SAED and receiving training from JICA and other organizations). They have a degree of knowledge in agriculture but are not expert; likewise, their command of ICT devices is of a level comparable to that of beginner users.
■ Communications environment in the area:
In Senegal, there are a lot of areas where communications environment is weak so it is welcomed to propose solutions to use in poor communications environment. The office where the agricultural extension workers are on standby is within the area covered by mobile networks (4G), and the office also has the Internet access (downstream bandwidth of 200 kbps) depending on area and conditions. In agricultural fields away from town, 3G service is generally available. However, considering cost and stability of communications, it is desirable to carry out offline certain or all tasks like inputting data.
■ IT literacy among agricultural extension workers:
Approximately 30–40% of the agricultural extension workers are smartphone users, with the rest being feature phone users. All of them can use mobile phones, including smartphones, with ease. Some of them have in the past received training on PC use provided by other donors, they are of beginner level.
■ IT literacy among farmers：
Local farmers use so-called flip phones to call and text. They generally do not have access to the Internet on PCs; they may travel a long way from home to use one on very rare occasions.
■ Languages of communication:
Because French is official language in Senegal, it is desirable to provide service in French. French and local languages will be used by the agricultural extension workers; and the local languages, by farmers. It is almost difficult to communicate in English with both of them. If the successful proposer needs translation during the verification testing, the cost of translation services can be included in the PoC budget.
■ Tablets to be used:
Those with 7–10 inch screen size. It is expected that tablets of a model suggested by the successful proposer will be purchased for PoC use within the PoC budget. Each agricultural extension worker currently has a Durabook PC from Twinhead International Corp.
- Verification Period：about three months during February and June 2021
- If it is difficult to travel the site because of covid-19, the verification test is supposed to carry out remotely.
- The verification site will be the Senegal River basin (a part of total 80K ha),which is the activity site of PAPRIZ2
- It will be demonstrated to 5~10 agricultural extension workers, employed by SAED, which conducts PAPRIZ2.
Please propose combinations of the necessary requirement which is the most needed solution by SAED and solutions which suggest freely like the following examples below.
- A solution to replace the paper-based extension&monitoring sheet currently in use with a digital version that allows an electronic collection of extension&monitoring information on a tablet computer. （Printing cost of extension&monitoring sheet is also SAED’s problem).
- In the field where farmers cultivate, 3G service is generally available but considering cost and stability of communication, it is better to propose the solutions on the assumption of no connection of Internet at the field.
- The data collected offline is uploaded and managed on the cloud under online environment for example at the office.
- The manager, SAED has needs to strengthen operation and management system for regular extension&monitaoring activity by agricultural extension workers, and effective operation to check outcome of extension&monitaoring.
- If introduced a tool to visualized extension&monitaoring activities, they can enhance effective operation and improve more effective and efficient extension&monitaoring activities.
- Tablet computers may be used for technical guidance for agricultural extension workers and farmers. The tablets may enables remote technical training instead of face to face training under disaster of covid-19.
- Especially, SAED has a strong need to efficient technical guidance and training with ICT.
- Diseases, pests and weeds are great enemies of rice farmers.
- If agricultural extension workers find diseases, pests and weeds and advise farmers controlling them timely, the damage of the farmers will be reduced.(for example, by using application which can diagnose pests and diseases of crops based on images of crops.)
- Ingenuity for accurate and appropriate data acquisition.
- Measures for promoting motivation of agricultural extension workers (for example, business model such as point distribution in collaboration with private companies)
- In addition to collecting information through extension&monitoring sheet, further data utilization by collecting additional information
About agricultural extension workers
The following is supplementary information about agricultural extension workers who will be users of tablets and their activities.
- The number of agricultural extension workers： Approx. 60 persons（5～10 persons will be targeted for PoC）
- Objective activity area：the Senegal River basin in Dagana and Podor Province, Saint-Louis Region
- The number of farm households for extension&monitoring： Approx.400-1000 households per an agricultural extension workers.
- The main purpose of extension&monitoring is to train farming and collect production data, etc.
- During the last season, extension&monitoring activities for farmers were carried out at least 10 times at the timing of important cultivation activities.
- An agricultural extension worker visit 3 farms a day for extension&monitoring activities.
- The extension&monitoring sheet can be download from here.
- Educational background and work experience of agricultural extension workers : They are mainly 20-30 years old graduated from agricultural colleges or other schools, or older people with extensive experience. They are employed by SAED.
- IT skills of agricultural extension workers :
- Approximately 30–40% of the agricultural extension workers are smartphone users(at the rest feature phone users)
- All of them can make full use of mobile phones(including smartphones).
- They can operate PCs and each agricultural extension workers currently has a Durabook PC.(Durabook is a laptop PC provided by Agence Française de Développment(AFD). The training to use the PC was also provided for them by AFD.)
- Agricultural extension workers exchange opinions each other actively on the Facebook group.
- Communications environment in the activity area of agricultural extension workers: The office within the area is covered by mobile networks (4G), and the office also has the Internet access (downstream bandwidth of 200 kbps) depending on area and conditions.
- Other specific respect: In agricultural fields away from town, 3G service is generally available.
About the Project for Improvement of Rice Productivity in the Senegal River Valley (PAPRIZ2)
- Project: Technical Cooperation
- Subject：Agricultural／Rural Development
- Period：May 2016〜May 2021
Senegal is one of the leading rice consuming countries in West Africa, but the self-sufficiency rate of domestic rice is low, and most of it depends on imports. In the national plan "the Accelerated Programme for Agriculture in Senegal (2014–2018)", increasing domestic rice production is an urgent issue to achieve rice self-sufficiency by 2017. This cooperation will formulate a medium- to long-term development plan for the rice cultivation sector in the Senegal River basin, as well as cultivation technology, irrigation infrastructure maintenance, and agricultural service providers in the Senegal River basin, especially in Dagana and Podor provinces where rice cultivation is prosperous. This will improve the production and quality of rice and contribute to the increase in domestic distribution.
Harvesting and threshing in a small-scale irrigation scheme. It is expected that the quality of paddy will be improved by instructing the timely harvest through the rice cultivation training by the project
October 19th ～
November 22nd 2020
Application from entry form
November ～December 2020
Proposers will be notified of the results by December 4th
Proposers will have a meeting※1 with JICA between early and mid-December
Final presentation※2 will be conducted in late December
PoC will be implemented for about 3 months between January and June 2021
June ~July 2021
※1 An online meeting (less than an hour) will be set up with ZOOM or other tools.
※2 Selected proposers will be asked to brush up the PoC plan in consultation with JICA and make an online presentation about your company, the details of your solution, the PoC plan, etc.
Click on the "Apply" button, go to the entry form and fill in the required information.
The evaluation criteria for proposals will be as follows. Please note that we will not disclose any evaluation results.
- Potential of the proposal as a solution to the given challenges
- Feasibility of the proposed solution
- Competitive advantage of the proposed solution
- Validity of the PoC plan
- Any relevant experiences of proposer
If you have any questions, please send them to the email address below. The secretariat will reply to your inquiry.
The secretariat for Africa Open Innovation Challenge powered by JICA
Contract for PoC
This verification testing will be conducted based on the business consignment contract, and the proposer will be required to submit the report specified in the contract as a product of the business consignment contract.
The management of this process is carried out in the Africa Open Innovation Challenge powered by JICA Management Secretariat (hereinafter referred to as the "Secretariat"). The secretariat is operated by a joint venture of Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support Co., Ltd., which is entrusted by JICA. Thus the proposer will make a business consignment contract for the implementation of the verification testing not with JICA but with the secretariat (Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu).
- The secretariat and JICA will not disclose any evaluation details or results related to the selection.
- The ownership of the materials and equipment procured by the proposer with the budget allocated by JICA shall belong to JICA, and in principle, JICA will transfer the materials and equipment to the government agencies of the project implementing country after the completion of the verification testing.
- The intellectual property rights of the prototypes produced by the proposer and other organizations related to the verification testing shall belong to the proposer even after the termination of the business consignment contract. However the proposer grants the license to JICA and the government agency of the project implementing country. (separately confirmed in writing by the proposer and JICA).
- The intellectual property rights of the report prepared by the proposer, which is the product of the business consignment contract, shall be transferred to JICA.
- In principle, JICA will disclose the submitted report to the public. If the report contains confidential contents for the proposer, the contents will be kept private. The contents of non-disclosure will be decided after discussion among the proposer, JICA, and the secretariat.
- The verification testing may suspended or canceled due to local conditions or the spread of COVID-19 infection.