An online advisory and problem-solving service is helping livestock farmers to overcome challenges and increase production in Benin and other parts of West Africa.
The private service grew out of a blog written by Louis Agbokou, who works as livestock advisor at a government agricultural agency in Benin. During on- site visits to farms in the districts that he covered, the livestock engineer became increasingly convinced of the need for wider-ranging technical assistance, to be delivered remotely. The online service that he developed has proved effective in troubleshooting a range of livestock farmers’ problems. Advice is delivered via social media channels, as well as through email communication. The service has proved particularly popular with younger farmers, and is provided on a fee-paying basis, while the blog can be accessed free of charge.
The initiative shows that even small-scale ICT-based agricultural solutions can be effective, using basic digital tools and resources. The practice is particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people are being urged to limit travel and face-to-face encounters.