The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".


The agriculture sector has the potential to support the SDGs 1, 2, 8, and 13. The sector has untapped resources that can initiate growth and reduce poverty through available employment opportunities. A study reveals that 72% of youth in Africa are unemployed or vulnerably employed while 11 million youth enter Africa labor market every year. It remains a fact that unemployment is a challenge for Africa, especially for its youthful population. The agriculture sector of Africa is a virgin industry because its potential is untapped. Its value chain can absorb a greater portion of Africa’s labor force and can contribute to economic growth and reduction of unemployment and poverty.

Liberia and other African nations being developing countries can leverage on agriculture potential to experience massive sustained economic growth and human development. In my country Liberia, we have very fertile land and the rain forest that promotes the

growth of several cash crops and food crops. Additionally, Liberia has a youthful population which is an added advantage for agriculture production. Already the agriculture sector contributes 62.7% to the GDP and over 60% to the employment ratio. The rural communities are heavily dependent on agriculture and agribusiness for livelihood, though they are limited in terms of capacity and access to finance.

There are some 321,661 registered farmers in Liberia with youth accounting for 33% (16-35yrs). This is a welcoming development to have this percentage of youth involved in the agriculture value chain in Liberia. But there is still much needed to attract young people to the agriculture sector. And one way we can do this is to integrate information and communication Technology and other farming technology to lure them to the agriculture profession and agribusiness activities. The use and development of technology and ICT platforms will make agriculture profitable thereby attracting more young people- reducing youth unemployment and poverty.

In the agriculture production value chain, traditional methods and techniques are used widely which limit productivity and profitability for farmers and agripreneurs. Processes such as disease diagnosis, post-harvest handling, and marketing of products are still experiencing the use of traditional methods and tools. As a result, productivity is low and profit as well does not commensurate with production cost.

           Role of Technology in Promoting Agricultural Development

By the way, if we must leverage the potential of agriculture and desire to experience sustained economic growth and Agricultural development, we have to integrate e-Agriculture, a system that will make food production efficient and fun for the young generation that is addicted to modern technology such as Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IOT). In Liberia, some young people see the agriculture sector as a place for the older generation and the poor because of the traditional methods and tools use in the value chain and the hard labor associated with production because of the lack of simple technologies.

There are existing modern technologies and ICT platforms but there is a need for awareness and information transfer-taking the information and benefits of the use of technology and ICT platforms to the stakeholders-farmers, policymakers, agribusiness individuals, and consumers. By this, the society will gradually integrate technology in the agriculture value chain which will initiate productivity at all levels of the chain. This will affect our economic growth and directly impact rural development.

Information and communication technology in agriculture (ICT in agriculture), also known as e-agriculture, is developing and applying innovative ways to use ICTs in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture. ICT in agriculture offers a wide range of solutions to some agricultural challenges. It is a known fact that Liberia faces several challenges when it comes to agriculture. A good example is commercial farming. What does it take to call someone a commercial farmer? In this era of technology, you can simply use your mobile phone for an answer. Today, I will share a few thoughts on how one can use technology in commercial farming.

 Having talked to a few Liberians who are interested in farming, I have learned that they all want to be in business but don’t have a clue on what it takes to be in business. That is where technology comes in. It is improved information and communication processes. In this context, ICT is used as an umbrella term encompassing all information and communication technologies including devices, networks, mobiles, services, and applications; these range from innovative Internet-era technologies and sensors to other pre-existing aids such as fixed telephones, televisions, radios, and satellites.

 In the business world, there is what is known as a business plan. The most important aspect of it is market research. Before launching any product, one must know the buyer. This being a challenge to Liberian, some few people made it their burden to develop the system that will help all Liberian farmers to have full access to both the local and international markets. This system will use available agencies to feed in data and extract it to those who may need it the most. This platform is a central focus of all agricultural value chains.

 As E-agriculture continues to evolve in scope, new ICT applications continue to be harnessed in the agriculture sector. More specifically, e-agriculture involves the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation, and application of innovative ways to use ICTs in agriculture. Provisions of standards, norms, methodologies, and tools as well as the development of individual and institutional capacities, and policy support are all key components of e-agriculture.

ICT and Farming

The common problems in the adoption of ICT in rural segments are ICT illiteracy, availability of relevant and localize contents in their own-languages (dialect), easy and affordable accessibility, and other issues as awareness and willingness for the adoption of new technologies among the rural peoples, etc.

One critical aspect in the usage of ICT’s for farmers and their groups, as seen in the some of the ICT driven initiatives, is the involvement of the human interface at the last mile indicating that there is a human dependency in the transmission of Information Knowledge to farmers.

Thus, there is a need to understand how far the ICT initiatives can address the farmers’ needs so that better solutions can be developed to address those unmet needs in Liberia.

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture needs to start looking into conducting e-agro events as it was hosted by a local Non-for-profit organization called ‘Agro-Tech Liberia’ back in 2018 in Liberia. During the event, I had the opportunity to facilitate the entire one-week agro-tech summit; it was an engagement that intends to expose the Liberian youth in agriculture and agribusiness knowledge, and also expose opportunities, agribusiness development skills, access to finance as well as policy instruments and ICT innovations that enhance agricultural productivity. Moreover, this was for the promotion of climate-smart agriculture, protecting the environment at the same time producing adequate food to feed Liberian.

The summit was a one-week event that provided interactive, experience sharing, and learning with an overall outcome of rebranding agriculture for youth participation. The event took place in Ganta City, Nimba County. And unarguably, Nimba County is one of the highest food-producing counties in Liberia currently. Looking at the flow of produce from around the county to the market in Monrovia, one can say that the county is one of the backbones of Liberia’s food security. However, an effort is needed in maintaining and increasing production to enhance local and national food security, especially with the involvement of the youth the county will have resilient food security and a vibrant economy. The summit served as a motivational platform for the youth of who most are in the vulnerable employment sector. The summit presented “ICTs in agriculture” to the youth community as a profitable business that can improve the livelihood of people and transform society.

                                    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Willie Bee Tingba, Jr. holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology Infrastructure Management Services/Computer Science at the United Methodist University (UMU). He is a candidate for a Master of Science degree in Management Information System at UNICAF University. He is a Digital Rights Activist, Lecturer at the BlueCrest University Liberia, Founder, and President Emeritus at the Liberia Information Technology Students Union (LITSU). He can be contacted on the following numbers and email addresses 0777538605. Email: / 

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