Using ICT to Increase Impact of Agriculture Sector Development

May 19, 2011
institutional sponsor: 
United States Agency for International Development


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This seminar was the 59th installment of the Linking Small Firms to Competitiveness Strategies Breakfast Seminar Series sponsored by the USAID Microenterprise Development office. Information and communications technologies (ICT) are being used in dozens of ways by USAID Feed the Future projects globally. Unfortunately most applications are not sustainable without on-going donor support; have not yet scaled to millions of farmers; and their impact has not yet been well measured. USAID's Judy Payne provided an overview of some of the most promising ICT interventions that appear to be sustainable and scalable without on-going donor support and also help improve smallholder farmers’ productivity and incomes. Examples included applications that improve access to farm extension and advisory services; ease access to financial services for smallholder farmers; help large buyers better manage and reward 10,000s of producers; provide better market price information; and can help reduce post-harvest losses. Payne also outlined some good practices related to technical and business models and addressed issues regarding measuring impact of such interventions. She drew upon work conducted under the USAID FACET Project and provided suggestions to help project implementers incorporate issues related to ICT into their value chain analyses.


Judith Payne headshot
Judith Payne
United States Agency for International Development

Judith Payne headshotJudy Pay

Judith Payne headshotne is USAID’s e-Business Advisor where she helps USAID missions and their projects around the world use information and communications technologies as a tool for economic growth and agriculture development. Her work includes helping USAID’s implementing partners find ways to use ICT-enabled approaches to increase their projects’ success in sustainable and scalable ways. Applications include mobile banking, market price information systems, applications to help large buyers deal with 1000s of producers, and new technical and business models to extend access to the Internet to the poor.

Prior to joining USAID, Payne worked for over 25 years in the US private sector, including 15 years working in all aspects of e-business, electronic commerce, and e-government: from strategic planning to hands on implementations, marketing, and pricing; from grappling with the details of transaction standards to software design and development. For five years, Payne was Vice President, Products and Services, at a small business in the US, a venture capital backed electronic commerce company specializing in services to government suppliers. She has also been a management consultant to business and government at Coopers & Lybrand and AMS and led research projects related to electronic commerce usage by governments while a scientist at the RAND Corporation. Payne holds a BA from Stanford University, a master’s degree from Harvard and she was a Fulbright Scholar to Germany.