6 Reasons to Join TechChange Course on Agriculture, Innovation, and Technology

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Smallholder farmers make up over half of the world’s food-insecure populations in developing countries. These farmers face numerous challenges: decreasing land sizes, weather changes, inadequate access to equipment & resources, insufficient training, market volatility and more.
How can you better design your interventions to support them?
TechChange’s four-week online certificate course on Agriculture, Innovation, and Technology will run from June 11th to July 6th and explore design considerations and technologies to help make agricultural production increasingly accessible and affordable in the developing world, including:

  • Digital financial services,
  • SMS and IVR campaign tools
  • Remote sensing technologies
  • Mobile applications and services
  • Drone and GIS data

The course will also consider a range of challenges to implementation like access to power, language barriers, literacy levels, high transactions costs, access to quality extension services and more.
You can expect a dynamic learning environment with real-world case studies that will allow you to critically analyze both the opportunities and the pitfalls that emerge when working with technology to improve agricultural outcomes
Here are the six reasons you should register now to take the TechChange course: you can combine it with ICTforAg, and we have five impressive case studies.
Combine ICTforAg and TechChange Course
The course will kick-off alongside the ICTforAg conference on June 14th in Washington DC and  can combine conference attendance into the course for a discounted price for both. ICTforAg is the largest conference in Washington, DC at the intersection of agriculture, technology, and international development.
The action-packed agenda features an exciting mix of additional educational keynotes, lightning talks, group breakouts, and vendor demonstrations, including an open-bar evening reception to foster networking across sectors.
Register now and use code agtech395 to lock in a discount on both the conference and the course.
Alternative Credit Scoring
Nearly 50 million smallholder farmers in Africa are struggling to support their families and communities through agri-business because less than 10% have their economic needs met by the financial sector. Without access to credit, they remain unable to purchase quality inputs, make productive investments, and improve their production and harvests.
FarmDrive’s alternative credit risk assessment model is providing financial institutions with an agriculturally relevant and data-driven model to assess risk and develop loans that fit the needs of smallholder farmers. We’re looking forward to having co-founder Peris Bosire join us for a virtual fireside chat on the FarmDrive model and are excited to see how it compares to other credit scoring providers like Tala and First Access.
Flying Robots for Agriculture
CTA just wrapped up an incredible pilot project in Uganda. They worked with the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE) and IGARA Tea, to set up and populate GIS and databases to improve membership transparency and accountability and product traceability.
They used drones to obtain a geo-referenced inventory of coffee plantations and a census of coffee plants per farm which they hope can used by individual farmers to apply for loans, more successfully. We’ll be hearing from Ben Addom, team leader for ICTs and Agriculture at CTA, about the results and lessons learned from this pilot project.
Big Data and Open Data
We’re thrilled to be hearing from Brian King and Medha Devare about the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture. The goal of this effort is to harness the capabilities of big data to accelerate and enhance the impact of international agricultural research.
This 6-year platform (2017 – 2022) will provide global leadership in organizing open data, convening all kinds of partners to develop innovative ideas, and demonstrating the power of big data analytics through inspiring projects. They’re already working on some interesting case studies. Read more about using data-driven climate adaptation to revive rice yields in Colombia.
Mobile Spectrophotometers
A major difficulty in reducing viral diseases of cassava is preventing the distribution of viral infected cuttings. Mobile spectrophotometry can provide rapid disease diagnostics in the field, in real-time. PlantVillage is a research and development unit of Penn State University that empowers smallholder farmers with affordable technology and democratizes access to knowledge to help them grow more food.
They are trialing a nanotech enabled mobile spectrophotometer to diagnose viral infections in cassava even when the plant looks healthy. Dr. David Hughes, PlantVillage co-creator and assistant professor of entomology and biology at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, will discuss their work on this front in a virtual fireside chat session.
Smart Tractors
HelloTractor has been busy building out their booking agent service in Nigeria as well as developing its award-winning Smart Tractor. The Smart Tractor is the world’s first tough, multipurpose, technology enabled tractor designed for rugged small plots of land.
It comes with eight attachments for land prep, irrigation, harvest, and transport, keeping the machine active throughout the year. We’re excited to catch up with founder Jehiel Oliver as he passes through DC and learn more about these developments.
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