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Cyber-seeds: Seeds an information management system based on ICT

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Cyber-seed is an information system based on internet to enable farmers to have an idea on what is done in the different cooperatives in seed production and food. In an interview, Alphonse Kouassi KOUAME, co-designer of cyber seed and currently in charge of the agricultural collective Entrepreneurship Program (ECAGRI) the General Secretariat Inades-Formation, present this information system. It answers questions of journalist Togolese Christmas Tadegnon.

Christmas Tadégnon: You set up an information system which will enable the farmer to know the quantities and varieties of seeds in different seed producers cooperatives, how to present this system called « Cyber-seed »?

Kouame Kouassi Alphonse: A Cyber-seed is a tool for collecting, processing and management of seed related data. This data can be: the variety, the quantity of seed, seed quality, the prices offered, the areas of production and storage, seed producers and farmers quality agents. In a word, the Cyber-seed is an information management tool for the farmer field to marketing. It promotes seed products through traceability.

N T: How is -t it work?

A K K: Each Cyber-seed is connected to the central computer (national) called « Observatory » which is housed in the case of Côte d’Ivoire, within the Seed Service of the Ministry for Agriculture. However, it may be domiciled in any other competent public or private structure, preferably even within inter. The Cyber-seed is a dynamic and interactive website designed to promote a dynamic communication between producers and seed users. He lives in the takeover or cooperatives that drive. These record data about seed availability (quantity, quality, price offered, etc.) and their needs. This data is automatically available at the Observatory.

N.t: How the information is collected by cooperatives (is directly related to farmers)?

A K K: Information is collected in direct relationship with producers. It is performed by quality agents farmers who are members of OPA farmers / cooperatives formed in the matter.

N.t: Who will use this information? Which goals and what the profit potential for farmers?

A K K: Users of information are: (i) States through seed and services that have reliable data on the seed sector. These data will be used each year in the development of national seed programs that identify the needs by category of seed and variety; (Ii) Farmers across their organizations that can get customers to sell their products but also know the potential seed sources when needed; (Iii) Seed companies and plant protection firms for marketing their products; (Iv) Traders (dealers, intermediaries, wholesalers) who can also do business and create added value to the seed.

N.t: How will the participation of rural communities?

A K K: Rural communities take an active part in the operation. The Cyber-seeds are housed in OPA / Cooperatives and are managed by the farmers themselves.

N.t: The project will help it better sharing of information on seeds and preservation of indigenous knowledge which until then disappeared?

A K K: Yes, we believe that this project will facilitate the flow of information between the various players in the sector. It facilitates raising and dissemination of information on seeds. In this connection, other tools of mass media will be involved include: the rural radio stations, newspapers, flyers, posters, etc. Regarding the valuation of indigenous knowledge, the system promotes traditional varieties and indigenous knowledge that accompany them. He is working on creating niche markets for some traditional varieties which are the subject of a strong local or foreign demand.

For more information on Cyber-seed, visit http://www.ci-semence.org

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