The Caribbean: ICT tools for women organic farmers ? the Knowing & Growing Network
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CTA. 2004. The Caribbean: ICT tools for women organic farmers ? the Knowing & Growing Network. ICT Update Issue 21. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57695
Nidhi Tandon reports on a regional computer training workshop for Caribbean women engaged in organic farming.
As in many other regions in the world, Caribbean women play a vital if under-recognized and unsupported role in food production. They are less likely to have access to land, extension training, affordable credit and loans than men, yet studies indicate that they make up to 65% of agricultural production and 80% of marketing decisions. There is a growing market for organic products, and an increasing number of Caribbean women are becoming interested in organic farming methods. Organic farming is highly knowledge-intensive, however, and women farmers often lack the means to learn more about organic production methods. While opportunities exist to tap into local and even regional markets, women farmers tend to be isolated from market information, and are not producing to organic export standards. A number of women farmers would like to make this leap but lack the opportunities to do so. To overcome these challenges, Networked Intelligence for Development (NID), an NGO based in Toronto, Canada, organized a workshop in collaboration with the Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement (JOAM) for Caribbean women engaged in organic farming with a view to help them take advantage of the Internet as a means to access and exchange information about organic farming methods, promote their business, and market their products. Held in March 2004 in Jamaica, the workshop attracted 47 women from all over the region, 28 of whom ran their own farming businesses. The workshop started with a basic training course on the use of the Internet, service providers and email services, and concluded with a session on e-commerce and online payment transactions. A Yahoo account was set up for everyone, including those who already had an email address, so they too learned how to set up an account. The participants also learned how to use search engines, how to download software from the web, how to create a web page, why a web presence is important, and how to go about getting web design services. The course also included an exploration of the kinds of organic farming information and networks that already exist on the Internet, and training in how to set up and participate in an online user group. All of the women who registered for the workshop completed the course, which also included a field trip to three organic farms, expert presentations on marketing and financing and, on the last day, a brainstorming session in which the participants suggested establishing a regional network of women organic farmers. Since all 47 participants now had an email address to exchange, the end of the workshop has e marked the very beginning of such a network. mailto:email@example.com Nidhi Tandon is principal and trainer for a target=_new href=http://www.networkedintelligence.com Networked Intelligence for Development (NID). She co-organised the workshop with Dorienne Rowan-Campbell, a consultant and trainer for NID, and an organic coffee grower in Jamaica.