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COMMENT 13

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ssnct 8OOword COfnflWnU 10 commantftu,lnessct..yonlilM.corft USINESSD4Y, 'Nwwbusinessdayonllne.Lom

Thuooay 15 March 2012

Enhancing agriculture through social networks

"'W..J..' ""'" ocroos • very story

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tiw actlon (adUlated by sodal media. In ~nuary, Nl8l!'.rian~ came outl!'.n masse to protest the remo\'U! of the ruel subsidy_lhey were able to s pread the mes· sage about their demands. du~ protest vrftue5and tbl!'.lra~ through Blackberry MI!'5Rngero TwiUer, Facebook. and other sodal media platforms. 111e fact that the ewnomywas aippled for an enlire week spoke of the power o f concerted acdon and proved that while a Imall percentage had acct'Si to the country'a re!lOllrces, ~ uJ-

As more and more allen-

lion Is given 10 agricultural entrel)reneunhiIJ, ranners s houJd educate themselves on social media marketing strategies 110 thai they can advertise their goods 10 a

wider aud1eoce

Inler~n8

about J'ome Indi an turm6'lc funnt'-I"S who

fou nd tJ'enselves in a fb: following the (rash of I)flees

Among the young sener.· 110n. there I~ a reJadW! Increase In aoela l m edia ellgagement. Young agrlcullural studl!:nl. have ItCCe5IIO InlumlCltion about agricultural compethlons and grants. They are abo able 10 read abou t Improved methods In other countries. They arl!: able 10 share and I!:IChange Idl!:8S more e85Uy and be beuu equipped to lhl!:re ls a need to bridge this divide and promote actlve socia.I media e.ngagement across the boanl In the Hanllnbe Nigeria ~II SARD programme. Ihe agricultural "udenl.S visit rural communiti es to sha re their knowledge with rural la rmers and upose them to new tech· nlques and trends. Agrlrultwal faculties shoukt promotl!: more propammes lib this. As more and more atten· tIon Is given 10 agrIrultuntie.n. tTt'preneurshlp, fanners should educate themselves U II sodal media marketing strategies so

the market. AJdltlugh this was an unprofitable move for each IndlvlduaJ fatme r, as the news went viraL many r Irme,..greed to boyt:ou the locaI .luctions. lhe boycott plO' ed very d · fecth-e, causing. dfl lP In supply and a comeqllenl lomlo Increase nIDI' !

.n.

Innovate.

on the runnerlcDlIU':et. To rem edy d.e situatIOn. cfn p 10cal fann· er used his FReebook _«own to 8t'1 in IOllCh wid, other farmers. As the word got around. fanne.rs d~ded tbal dley wert! going to reduce tbesupply of turmeric in

In prke. But

limalety resided with the pI!'Ople. In agriculture, thl~ people power continues 10 be under· e%plolted. Fanners.sufferdue to rising prices and al the hands of middlemen and banb. the lack or Inrormation about weatiter pattern, and muket trend~ translates Into huge losses for Imall and mC!dlum-scale farm-

Importantly,

It showed Ihl1 ,'OIYI'( of collec-

that they can advertlle Ihl!'ir goodl to a wider audience, uI tlmately eliminating the need for middlemen. lluoogh sodal media, which Is acces~lble on many Imartphones. fBrmen sl)ould also seek ways to obtain affordable larm mac:h1nery and other Inpul_ Farmen should Join virtual platfonns and chat groups to dl~cuS$ prices and disasters and ways to Improve food security and contesl poU. des that affect them. Rural communJtles may not have muc.h clout at the fed · era) level of decl5lon· maUns. but should lanners across the country be united via social media; should they be able to make their messages go viral within the larmosphere; ,hould they constantiy be In the know about uends; and should they, empowered by this lmowIedS~ be able to aipple a part 01 the community by coUectJve action. there ls no telling what great heights tlley will ac hleve _ Indeed, wha t theysay is true - that ·poverty cannot be undmlood as lack or goods or Income, but as people', Inability 10 par· tidpate in discourse that shapes thelrllves:

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Ca n th e poor save the world? So Ucll~ 1t•• , I:AY

E

venliin 2l 11 1 IOrarhBve

conf..-Inl'J a n~8lobaJ diss,mnlelry. Clugh!

behl.cen wtprecedenled ban< lal lMecurlty and. M1mbn- tICOl1 onk: outJook. lhr rich OECOCOWltrles and thdr middle clltS5es fea J:eopoUtical weilining and down ward JOdaI lIlobWty. In mueb c,f '\.Ii.. Africa. and LatlnAmertca. Mlwevt!:t, opll mism rrigtUAmOIlS dev,lopetl countries, thll unupectod IhU' of fonune has IncltC!d ptol~1 tlonlsm, u emplified by FN!tK'lt calb for degtobaUzation.. Mntlwh.Ue. amonll I!'ml!'rglns Ko"om Je'>. pride has tometlmel mlnlf, ' ''~ Itself as conalt, tinlled. afl fOr dt!cades or Western arrogance. WIth tchaden· freudl!'_ But. beaUl'e the world'l

developed. emergins. and de· voeloPln, I!'<XJnomles are now MI doul)' Inked, they wUl either doe: l>addle out of this crlsb to~Ofenlft InlOadanfetzone unseen since the 1930'L AItftWorktYoar II. all(l'Wsiob al economy eme~.1n which a powlns number of de\'elaplng counlril!'l adopted expon-Ied IJfOWlh modl!:l,. thereby provldInglndustriaUzed COWllriel with raw materlall and household !fOOds. lhis Ile'W economy WlIJ an undenlable 1UCCe!J5: more pI!"Opk ld't poverty In the ~ntleth ceo Imy than In the precedlnS two mUlenn1&. And It enriched OECO counlrll!'J, as Importl of cheap KOOCHandservk:esstmlflt-hMed thelt purchasing poWtt But th1I model also ~ rich countries' social suuctures. wldl!'nlllS lnequaUtil!'S and u cludlns a wowtng proportion of Ihelr populations from the labor mar"el. MoaooYer, It II rHpon· slbtl!' for the financial Imbalances thatlJeslt'g1! us loday: In order 10 counter thl!' effects of widening InequaUIY and slowlns poWIh. OECO countriel haW! bootled consumption by ru.shlns Into debt both public (leadlns to Europe'l pubUc-debt crislI) and privatI!' (facWtating the American subprhne aills) 1.hll would bave been ImPOI' sible had the OECD countries' main luppller. of enerlY and

manufactured soods not, over time, become Ihelr creditors. In a remarkable revl!'ual of history. the world s poor now finance the wortch rkb. owIns to larwe fordsn re5efVes. Indeed. the hypertrophy of today'. B10bal Onaneial 1eC10r la'1l!'ly rl!'nects efforts to recycle ellH'rglng ma~ countries- rlslns surpluses In order 10 plull tile rich countries' mount iuS denclts. Until rt"Centi)"thlsdynalllicWllJ cons ldl!'red mnlilory _ Eml!'rslns countries' srowth wouId~­ II, lead 10 conversence of B10bal W1IKtIS 1UK.! prices, thus haltlnfl the erosion of manufaclurlns In the OEQ)countriet..1hedemOS"'phlc UlU1sition In the wor ld', emerzjns coWltrll!" would encourage the development of Ihel r dome.tlc markru, a fan In their savini ratH. and a rebalaod. . of IIlob<tJ u.le. That might be true In iheory. but the length of thls tnm5Itlon perkJd. whlcb is .1 the heart of the sJobai nnanelal crisis, has been badly underl!:il.lmated lile ·Inverlion of ICafdtles" the new abundance of m~n aJld women actively par tictpatlns In dIe sJobai economy, combined with a once·abundanl natunll world's lncreaslnBfyvWble Hmhs - risk pmlan"ng the~ ­ tlon Inddinltl!'ly, for two reasons. Ant, from a macroeconomic paspectlVI!!, we can no longer cowll on decUnlns prlcel for raw materials, oDe or the KOnonllc stabUlurs In tlmH of c:riJlL Glw.n r:islntI de-

mand In eml!'rglns countries. the COlt of nalunU resources Is bound 10 be. grnwins constraint. Second, from alOdaJ perspKtl\'!'. artft a doublt"8 of the work~ force In the global I~bor market durlns Ihe Iw~ntielh cl!'ntury. another ·lndusutal t'eJft"V1!' anny"" has arisen In China, and arno", Ihe Ihr~ billion Inhabitants of thl!' world'i devdoplns countries. A ntpld rebalandns of Slo bal p-owth by redud", fmanclal bn bldancel belween OECO KOBO mlH and thel. I!'rnersin& markc! cmHlon luilley, bec:aU5e II would CIIU5e a major rf!C(l'$5lon ror the former - and tilen for tile latter. Moreover; 1115 unlikely, because It llMumes that emerging countries will run trade ddkh.l with OECD countries. and that IMlr doml!'Stic marke-IS will become drivers of ~_h.

If thll ana~s II correct. a new slobal rebalanelns s lratt'l)' ""111 need to begin IOmewhl!'re olher than tile weaJl11y OECO econo· mles. The Imlllt'mentat1on of new 8fOWth modl!'ls In the devt!loplnS world - the parts of South AsIa. Ulln America. and Africa Iha' have not tKlopted opot1-1ed stral~ - can provide allNlt part of the missing denand that the world economy ufJenLty need.L The SUCCeJ.II of thl. scenario depends on a combination of three dynamIcs. Arst.. Interstate u.le: between I!'ml!'fgln8-maritfl

and developln& countries musl accelerate, dlereby building Ihe IIlRII!' kind of consumer provider relationship I I thai bl!'twl!'l!'n emerBfns and adV1lnced coun tries. Second, domestic markets In the world's poorest counlJies mUl t be developed In order 10 fosler more home.puwn srowth. And. third, financial floWIlO de \'!'Ioplng coWltrles both offid al development asslslance lind forelsn dlrKt Investmenl must rl,l!'. and mu.st coml!' nOI o nly from Indusulaltud economies. bUI aI§O from emHPnland oil uportlnll countries. Rec ycllns slobal l urplu-Sel tiuough dIe wo rld'l "bonom bU· lions· presupposes a complete overhaul of lIa"dud KOnomlc ~ whk:h e:ssentiallyauume that the Aalan economic RllradI!' nn be JqJlk:ated_Mer all, evm If thl!' world achll!'ves I lsnl8 ClInt I!!COnomic pOWlh bt'tW(I'eJI now and 2050, two blllion of the wo rld's nine billion peGllle will stili live on leu than two d~lars a day, and a further billion wlU have Httle more than thaI. Por emerSlns and ,",uhh)' econom5el aIlR, the: world's poor should DOl be viewed .. a burden. In the currl!'nt global economic crisis. they 8fe the best Hit slrat 1!!J)'Wt!

have.

S~ tNdions lW):

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BUSINESSDAY, 15 MARCH, 2012  

Enhancing agriculture through social networks

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