Cooperation, Technology & Innovation

Grow digital

Baseline Survey on Rice Farmers' Affinity towards ICT solutions in West Africa

1.     The radio remains the most prevalent ICT device

In Nigeria, a total of 89% of interviewed farmers indicated to own a radio. In Burkina Faso it was even a total of 92%. When asked whether they use the radio to access agricultural information, 87% of radio owners in Nigeria indicated that they do. In Burkina Faso it was even 95% of radio owners who use the device to obtain agricultural information.

2.    Rice farmers continue to rely on feature phones

While the survey showed that about 87% of rice farmers in Nigeria and 88% in Burkina Faso have either a smartphone or a feature phone, most farmers continue to rely on simple feature phones (74% and 77% respectively).

3.     Farmers have access to smartphones through other people

In Nigeria, of the 74% of rice farmers with just feature phones, more than half indicated to have access to smartphones via friends, children, spouse, and other family members. Similarly, out of the 77% of rice farmers with feature phones in Burkina Faso, more than two thirds have access to smart phones through other people.

4.     Many farmers use phones throughout the day

While in Burkina Faso 56% indicated that they use phones throughout the day, it was only 27% of farmers in Nigeria. Most Nigerian farmers indicated to use phones during the evening (39%). In Burkina Faso on the other hand, only 17% indicated to use phones in the evening.

5.      Calls are the preferred phone feature

In Nigeria, 85% of farmers indicated that calls are the most important feature of a phone, followed by the internet (8%), entertainment (6%) and mobile data (8%). Less than 1% said that they see messages as the most important feature. This pattern is even more noticeable in Burkina Faso, with 97% of interviewed farmers preferring phone calls.

6.     Most Nigerian smartphone users know how to handle the device

While the sample size is small, smartphone users amongst Nigerian rice farmers indicated they find smartphones easy or very easy to use (98%). Similarly, almost all smartphone users in Nigeria indicated that they know what a mobile application is (95%) and can download them (92%). In Burkina, however, smartphone users appear to be less familiar with the device with only 65% indicating that the devices are easy or very easy to use. In addition, only 47% said they know what an application is and only 30% can download one.

7.     Smartphone users purchase between 100-1,000 MB per week

In Nigeria, most smartphone users (52%) indicated to purchase between 100 and 500 MB per week. Close to half of the smartphone users in Nigeria indicated that the data they purchase is not sufficient. In Burkina Faso, the majority (66%) indicated to purchase between 300 and 1,000 MB per week. Similar to Nigeria, 42% of smartphone users in Burkina Faso said that the purchased data is not sufficient.

8.     Farmers are willing to pay for agricultural information

Top 5 Agricultural information that farmers are willing to pay for – Nigeria

  • Market information
  • Weather information
  • Inputs: Availability and accessibility
  • Services: Mechanization
  • Inputs: Who to get it from

Top 5 Agricultural information that farmers are willing to pay for – Burkina Faso

  • Input: Price information of inputs
  • Land preparation
  • Inputs: Application of herbicides
  • Finance: Market information
  • Fertilizer application

9.     Farmers are willing to pay up to 3.5USD per season for agricultural advice

In Nigeria, when asked how much they are willing to pay for agricultural information, a plurality of 37% indicated they would pay somewhere between 0.5 and 2.5 USD per season. Another 23% would only pay less than 0.5 USD. In Burkina Faso, a plurality of 40% indicated they would be willing to pay up to around 1.5 USD per season. 26% indicated that they would be willing to pay between 1.5 and 3.5 USD.

10.     In Nigeria, the clear majority prefers audio formats

The survey revealed that 80% of rice farmers would prefer to receive agricultural information by audio, followed by graphic presentations (62%), video (58%), and text (50%).


Key Messages

  • Radio is the most prevalent device amongst rice farmers
  • Most farmers can be reached through feature phone-based solutions
  • Bundled solutions of information/advisory may be most effective
  • While only few farmers own smartphones, they appear to be very familiar with them
  • Preferred communication format amongst rice farmers is audio
  • Cost for agricultural information should be below 5 USD per season – ideally less than 3.5 USD
  • ICT solutions need to account for local languages

CARI already started harnessing the insight gained from this survey for their field activities and focus on radio and USSD-based solutions to support rice farmers at scale.

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