Smallholder farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America face many challenges, including little or no access to quality inputs (e.g., seeds and fertilizer), insufficient information about farming "best practices", market prices and weather and limited access to markets and few financial resources. This makes it extremely difficult to increase their level of production or earn a higher income. The Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) initiative aims to address these challenges by combining the use of mobile technology and local peer advisors to provide accurate, timely information to improve farmers' businesses and livelihoods.
Launched in 2009, the initiative was one of the first to use smartphone technology and cloud computing in very remote, rural settings. This summary examines the first five years of the program and provides important lessons on improving opportunities for rural farmers through technology.