This chapter presents the results of the interview described in chapter three. The data collection method utilized was the semi-structured interview that provided both control and direction through a list of the question under interview. Respondents were ICT managers` and senior staff who have an authority to decide which direction agriculture takes with regard to adopting new IT infrastructure or not and integrate the services. Interviewees were selected from the ministry of agriculture ICT department using purposive sampling. Ten interviewees from ICT department and four interviewees from marketing department were interviewed. Accordingly, results are discussed in this chapter by grouping the issues and comparing the interview findings from relevant literature findings.
5.1. Current Ethiopian Agricultural Strategy
The Ethiopian government has established the mitigation of poverty as its major goal. Its development strategy, therefore, must be one that assists the decreasing of poverty in the most active way. Agricultural Development Led Industrialization, the government’s selected development strategy is expected to do just that. The objective of ADLI is to support the relationship between agriculture and industry by increasing the productivity of peasant farmers, growing large-scale private commercial farms, and by reforming the industrial sector in such a way that it can make use of the country’s natural and human resources. Ethiopia is gifted with a large number of working age population. The country is also endowed with a comfortable arable land, though the land is unusual in some parts of the country particularly in the northern and central highlands. The economy, however, is an acute shortage of capital. ADLI is a strategy that uses employment broadly and lands intensively. By promoting the use of technologies that are labor intensive and land increasing such as fertilizer and improved seeds, the government aims to transform Ethiopia’s agricultural economy into a modern economic system.
According to the strategy of ADLI, growth in agriculture is hypothetical to bring overall economic growth by motivating both demand and supply. On the demand side, growth in agricultural activities is supposed to increase demand for industrial products (e.g., agricultural inputs and consumer goods) manufactured by local organizations. On the supply side, the sector delivers food (thereby reduces or even eliminates the need to import grains and other food products), raw materials for manufacturing, and export products.
Ethiopia’s ADLI program aims to increase the productivity of the agricultural sector by
1. improving agricultural practices through the increased use of fertilizers and improved
seeds as well as through training programs;
2. developing agricultural infrastructure through small-scale irrigation, improved rural banking.
3. supporting large-scale private as well as state-owned commercial farming.
In order to make agriculture the machine of growth through the local economy and global trade, there has to progress in terms of commercialization, with more concentrated farming, increasing the ratio of marketable output and similarly decreasing the ratio of production for own consumption. In addition to developing technological progress, it means greater market interaction on the part of the farmer. To facilitate the commercialization of agriculture the government has implemented an extension program known as the Participatory, Demonstration, and Training Extension System. The objective of the program is to support smallholder farmers increase their productivity by providing credit for inputs as well as by establishing and disseminating information on major food crops (such as teff, wheat, maize, and sorghum) and on cash crops. Cooperatives facilitate input and output marketing and promote the provision of rural finance.
5.2. Challenges of the Ethiopian Agriculture
The main challenge of the Ethiopian agriculture is its dependency on rain-fed agriculture. Overall economic performance is largely determined by what happens in the agricultural sector, which in turn is extremely dependent on the amount and timing of rainfall. In “Ethiopia’s Economic Performance,” Alemayehu Geda 46 discusses the negative multiplier effect of a high degree of dependence on rain-fed agriculture on the level of production. authors note that a shock in one period is often carried over into the next since the drought in that period deprives the farmer not only of current income but also of assets, which may be lost (e.g., oxen dying) or are sold in the market. Geda points out that the government’s development strategy ADLI does not adequately address this central problem in agriculture, i.e., the extremely heavy reliance on rainfall.
Additionally, Ethiopian agriculture sector is still facing several challenges: such as
• Poor knowledge about the weather forecast, pests, and diseases.
• Deficient production information
• Not enough sales and distribution information
• Inadequate information about consumption trends
• Poor ICT infrastructure and ICT illiteracy
• Non-availability of timely and relevant content, non-integration of services, poor advisory services and lack of localization, and in particular non-availability of agricultural information.
• Lack of awareness among farmers about the benefits of ICT in agriculture.
5.3. Role of Cloud Computing in Solving these Challenges
Looking at the potential benefits of cloud computing we can list out its role in agricultural development in Ethiopia. Using the applications of cloud, the farmers have nothing to worry about hardware and software investment and also the technical knowledge required to learn them. The farmers will send the request for the specific cloud service using a user-friendly device, and the cloud service provider will analyze and handle the request dynamically, and finally, the results will be passed back to the client. They can get most up-to-date farming and propagation techniques, pest control knowledge, and can also track and check the whole process from production, distribution to consumption. They can also leverage the systematic methods in information collection, supply chain logistics, market forecasting and business decision-making.