Times are quickly changing - I know I don't have to tell you that, but sometimes, as I travel to our different country programs and visit with donors and partner organizations, I'm still in awe of the amount of work I can accomplish on an electronic device a little over 4 x 2 inches. I can record video and pictures (and upload them to social media sites!), connect with my colleagues, read research articles and engage in discussions about new innovations to help end hunger and poverty.

Technology continues to evolve and has begun to play an important role in agroecology. So how can the right technology benefit the small-scale farmers with whom we work?

For starters, as I just mentioned, the power of cell phones is incredible. More and more farmers around the world have cell phones, putting important information and connectivity at their fingertips. Farmers can exchange texts regarding the different prices for crops and can price their own produce accordingly. Can you picture the impact that this will have on women? For one thing, the possibility of improved literacy. Yes, because like or not, we are becoming more reliant on receiving our information electronically (isn't that right blog readers?). In fact, this is already happening, and its making a difference in the increased income of these farmers.

At Heifer, we are committed to helping farmers secure a sustainable livelihood, and with that we also commit to finding the right technology to help them achieve their goals.

Energy poverty plays a significant role in keeping rural families poor. To overcome this particular poverty, some of our projects are looking into the power of solar energy. I witnessed this first hand in Haiti, where our participants are using solar energy in their fishing hatcheries.

We still have a lot to learn, and we don't have all the answers, but that is why we commit to finding and working with people and organizations that are experts where we are not. It is working together that we will achieve Heifer's mission of ending hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.

I am very optimistic that, by harnessing the right technology appropriately, we will have a great impact in eradicating hunger and poverty - and sooner than we think.

Author

Pierre Ferrari

Pierre Ferrari is president and CEO of Heifer International. Pierre is very passionate about empowering the families and communities with whom Heifer works: “It took me decades, but I have come to know that the only way to happiness and joy is to be of service to others.” Pierre’s other joys are his wife, Kim, his two sons and two stepdaughters. In his free time he enjoys golf, squash, reading and travel.