Original Research

Towards a framework to implement a digital agriculture value chain in South Africa for small-scale farmers

Hermanus J. Smidt, Osden Jokonya
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 16 | a746 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v16i0.746 | © 2022 Hermanus J. Smidt, Osden Jokonya | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 January 2022 | Published: 30 June 2022

About the author(s)

Hermanus J. Smidt, Department of Information Services, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Osden Jokonya, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

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Background: Digital technology adopted in agriculture value chains (AVCs) improves efficiency. There is a need to understand why some actors benefit more than others in AVCs and why this pattern at a global level is replicated locally.

Objectives: To understand how existing frameworks can enhance the understanding of Digital for Development (D4D) associated with digital AVCs to achieve the following: Distribute power and economic value amongst actors in the AVC more equally; retain the identity of small-scale farmers and their sustainable practices; establish effective communication to confront asymmetric information and the lack of access to knowledge effectively; to enhance research, development and innovation.

Method: The method used is a Systematic Literature Review (SLR). Numerous frameworks to implement digital AVCs were assessed and presented. These were then compared and aligned to policies and strategies that may be associated with D4D in South Africa. Ultimately, a framework that lists the institutional information, digital services and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) design architecture was proposed.

Results: This article proposes a framework for the implementation of Provincial Agriculture Digital Innovation Hubs (PADIHs) and Extended District Agro-food Sustainable Knowledge Hubs (DASKHs). These institutions will support small-scale farmers to adopt digital technology in their AVCs.

Conclusion: When answering the research question, an alternate conceptualisation of a framework for digital AVCs adoption is made. This helps D4D practitioners and scholars who implement or research digital AVCs to better organise, conceptualise and conduct their research going forward. This research adds to the literature of D4D. It presents a better understanding of how small-scale farmers are empowered when adopting a digital AVC.


digital development; framework; small-scale; farmers; agriculture value chains; institutions; innovation hubs


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