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Agriculture development is one of the main challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa. While more than 85 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture, much of it is still rain-fed and subsistence oriented. Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) can play a major role in improving the competitiveness of agricultural value chains by increasing efficiencies, lowering costs, and increasing the scale of operations, among others. Increasingly, development programs are leveraging ICTs to improve practices, for example, through bar coding to facilitate bringing goods to market, text messaging of commodity prices for better informed producers, and utilizing cell phones to connect producers and buyers.
FACET is funded by USAID's Bureau for Africa, Office of Sustainable Development, Economic Growth, Environment and Agriculture Division (AFR/SD/EGEA) — the partnership that oversees the design and implementation of USAID's Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative for Sub-Saharan Africa. Designed to be interactive and collaborative, FACET provides technical assistance to improve competitiveness and productivity across agriculture sub-sectors through the use of ICTs as tools to enhance the functioning and competitiveness of agricultural value chains and facilitate trade in agricultural products across Sub-Saharan Africa.
To achieve its objectives, FACET has two components:
- Knowledge sharing across missions regarding sustainable and scalable approaches to using ICT to increase the success of FTF activities.
- Short-term technical assistance to projects to help them improve their uses of ICT, especially in ways that may be helpful to other projects as well.