Effective utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has been identified as a sure route for agriculturists and rural inhabitants of developing countries to take advantage of modern technology and survive at the least if not actively participate in global trend of events. However, pervasive complexities in developing countries such as unreliable grid electricity, limited availability of resources, and climate change pose serious challenges to the use of ICTs; these create an urgent need to find sustainable alternatives, especially in rural areas that sharply depend on agriculture for livelihoods. This research involved a comprehensive assessment of the potential of sustainable computing as a solution to the aforementioned challenges for agricultural and rural applications in developing countries. Primary data was obtained from 77 respondents in nine developing countries using questionnaires. Respondents came from varying,largely rural occupations such as animal rearing, agricultural marketing, crop farming and agricultural research and extension. Solar-powered computers were identified as one of the most strategic and relevant solutions to the current limits to access of rural people – especially from agricultural backgrounds – who have much to gain from improved access to information and computing technology (ICT). To strike a balance between affordability of mainstream respondents and their need for greater ICT access, we identified integrated netbook-scalesolar powered laptop as the most relevant, which can satisfy the identified ICT needs, plus – besides powering the computer – will power mobile phones and other portable ICT devices. We determined that solar powered computers cangreatly increase access to ICTs benefits to rural, off grid societies and yield carbon savings of up to 22kg of CO2, per year. The results of our research are intended to be helpful in promoting off-grid access to ICT in rural societies so as to improve agriculture and extend the additional benefit of “bridging the digital divide in a way that advances sustainable development.
International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 53)
F. Dodo and C. Reith, "Analysis of Sustainable Computing for Mainstream Agricultural and Rural Applications in Developing Countries", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 53, pp. 12-28, 2015