Bringing the power of technology to rural agricultural communities

Bringing the power of technology to rural agricultural communities

By Jose Carlos Martinez Sabater on September 19, 2013

At the recent UN Broadband Commission meeting in New York, Intel, Grameen and the Minister of Communications of Macedonia signed an MOU that will bring the power of state-of-the art computing technology to agricultural communities in Macedonia. The agreement was signed by two UN Broadband commissioners – Ivo Ivanovski, Minister of Information Society and Administration, Republic of Macedonia (@iivanovski) and John Davies, Vice President of Intel.

A few years ago, Grameen Trust and Intel formed a separate standalone company modeled after the concept of a social business promoted by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, who is also a UN Broadband Commissioner. For Intel, this was an opportunity to alleviate social and economic problems using the power of microprocessors. The software being developed by Grameen Intel Social Business Ltd. enables rural micro entrepreneurs to offer services to farmers in rural communities using computing devices.

One such useful service is soil testing and fertilizer recommendations powered by our mrittika software, the solution that will be provided in Macedonia. A majority of farmers are currently unaware of the importance of accurately measuring macro-nutrients in the soil prior to harvest. What this new technology MoU envisions is a soil testing service offered by the government or a local expert to local farmers at affordable prices. Service providers take soil samples in a test tube, apply special reagents and enter the results of the test into a computer. The computer then generates a prescription on the optimum level of fertilizers required. This calculated approach provides three key benefits to the farmer – reduction in input costs through the more effective use of fertilizers, reduction of the environmental impact of excessive applications of chemicals, and improved crop yields providing better income.

We are very excited about bringing technology benefits to a new population segment in Macedonia. This is one more example of how broadband and computers can have an immediate impact on those who are often yet to benefit from information technology.

About the Author

Jose Carlos Martinez Sabater is a Global Director with the Intel World Ahead Group where he works with international organizations, industry associations, government, regulators and ministries in Developing Economies spreading recommendations and best known methods to accelerate Broadband and ICT adoption to narrow the Digital divide.