Harvest-IT: a “gateway to information” for farmers in the Arab States, Europe and the CIS region
“This application provides farmers with a first exposure with quality management schemes.”Domonkos Öze, Agriculture and Rural Development Expert, Hungary
In remote and landlocked areas, limited IT infrastructure hinders smallholders’ access to reliable information about weather forecasts and local markets. Harvest-IT provides certified information to smallholders in order to assist them with farm management and production cycles, thus contributing to sustainable resource use and improving food security and living standards.
The app offers guidance, manuals and interactive features to provide tailored information on the main crops produced in the area or country. Users can browse literature and use special calculators to make informed decisions about fertilizer use or expected yield, for example, and also receive guidance on the best practices approved and suggested by national experts.
The app also includes tips and tricks about tested practices and methods in order to easily offer practical solutions that can be used by non-experts.
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Harvest-IT app offers:
- Information presented through interactive displays accompanied by pictures, customized calculators to support decision-making, and links to additional resources;
- Background knowledge and practical tips on the most common crops produced in the area, put together by national experts under the guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture;
- Free, offline information that can be shared via Bluetooth.
Algeria, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Uzbekistan
IFAD, UNOSSC, IsDB
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The Harvest-IT application provides first-hand information and guidelines on agricultural practices tailored to the needs of rural producers in Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Turkey. It offers:
- Free download for iOS and Android;
- Availability in 7 languages;
- Demand-driven customized content developed by relevant national experts from the covered countries;
- Ease of use, works offline and can be shared via Bluetooth among mobile phones.
In remote and landlocked areas, many small-scale farmers and breeders have trouble accessing reliable and up-to-date information on prices, stocks and markets. Without this information, farmers must make basic decisions about when to till, sow and harvest based solely on the knowledge of local context and their own experience. Consequently, these small-scale farmers are more vulnerable to economic and climate shocks that can put their livelihoods and food security at risk.
Transmitting targeted information to farmers’ own mobile phones has proven to be instrumental in raising farmers’ incomes, improving the efficiency of agricultural marketing, reducing information and transportation costs, and creating a platform for service delivery and innovation. However, the impact of information and communications technology (ICT) on rural livelihoods could be hampered by lack of infrastructure and difficulties with reliable network connectivity.
The Harvest-IT application is an offline “gateway to information” for farmers in Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Turkey. The app offers a range of information related to agricultural practices, customized according to the most relevant crops and practices in each country. Farmers are able to easily access information and guidelines on issues such as farm administration, irrigation, grazing, milk production, and soil management. Interactive displays featuring pictures, simple charts and customized calculators help farmers make better-informed decisions, while the app also provides safety information and links to additional resources. Farmers are able to browse manuals and literature by topic and get practical solutions through the “tips and tricks” section. Once downloaded, the application works offline and can even be shared over Bluetooth.
Harvest-IT was designed for farmers and breeders with potentially low ICT literacy in remote and landlocked areas with limited Internet connectivity. The app was developed through a partnership initiative on South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Agricultural Development and Enhanced Food Security in the Near East and North Africa, Europe and CIS countries (SSTC-ADFS) jointly supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). Harvest-IT was inspired by the MEVA mobile application developed in Uzbekistan. Each country’s section was designed by the project’s national partners in their respective Ministries of Agriculture, based on the needs assessment carried out by experts in selected farmers’ communities.
The application is free to download for Android and iOS systems at:
By downloading and sharing Harvest-It via Bluetooth, rural agricultural producers in the pilot countries have benefitted from access up-to-date information about sustainable intensification of production on their farms. These countries’ Ministries of Agriculture, who have been involved in developing the app’s content, further promoted Harvest-It to reach as many communities as possible. For instance, in Hungary, a 2017 training series for farmers’ cooperatives within the framework of the SSTC-ADFS project included a session on how to use Harvest-It to access standards of administration and sanitary regulations, among other topics. Currently, the app provides knowledge and practical tips relevant to the environmental, natural and socio-economic conditions common in the Near East and North African region.
Harvest-IT has become a must-have tool for disadvantaged groups of small-scale farmers – especially youth and women, who typically have fewer opportunities to access guidance and information. Receiving easy, practical tips to improve land management, enrich nutrition quality of production and follow safety standards helps smallholders improve their productivity and food security.
Lessons Learned/Potential for replication
During its pilot with small-scale farmers in Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Turkey, Harvest-IT was praised for its user-friendly layout and clear content. The app’s information was developed by national experts to reflect each country’s specific land conditions and mainstream crops. Harvest-IT could be scaled by broadening its range of topics as well as tailoring the content for new locations.
Harvest-IT could also be replicated through South-South and triangular cooperation. Given the success coordinating with the Ministries of Agriculture in the target countries, national authorities should be included in replicating Harvest-IT in other areas. To broaden the outreach of the application, awareness could be raised through various national agricultural events, public and private training courses and other capacity-building opportunities.
Harvest-IT was programmed so that additional content and languages could easily be embedded. In each of the four pilot countries, the Ministry of Agriculture was granted the rights to maintain and update the app’s content in order adapt to evolving contexts. Additionally, Harvest-IT was built to be easily adapted for other country contexts.
Last update: 22/07/2020