Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

High tech forum on applied information technology

Experts, officials discuss innovations for agriculture, health and food security

High tech forum on applied information technology
FAO Asia-Pacific head, Hiroyuki Konuma, addresses the opening session at the two-day 1st SRII Asia Summit 2013 that fosters innovation and research for a sustainable society.

Bangkok,Thailand, 16 Sep 2013 -- FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Hiroyuki Konuma, spoke today at the opening session of the 1st Service Research and Innovation Institute (SRII) Asia Summit, which brings experts together to share service innovations. Konuma said, “FAO estimates that 91 percent of  the global food production increase towards the year 2050 should come from yield increases on existing arable land based on the advancement of agricultural research, and its application and transmission to farmers through effective research-extension linkages.”

Noting that a half billion small farming family farmers produce most of food consumed in developing countries, he added that small scale farming families play a critical role in increasing food production for future food security. “Yet, small farmers are often constrained by access to markets, knowledge, new technology and skills, new inputs, emerging value chains and other opportunities.”

According to Konuma, “Innovation is the application of new solutions that meet new requirements, which can be accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies or ideas. In recent past, information and communication technology (ITC) has been playing an important role in promoting innovation in the agriculture sector.”

Calling the mobile phone “a technology which is widely accessible to all populations and has been playing invaluable role in improving social, economic and environmental development in emerging markets,” Konuma said that a recent Rockefeller Foundation report found that some 40 percent of all people in developing world actively subscribe to mobile services, while well over 50 percent have access to a mobile phone, even if they are not the owner.

Konuma also said, “There have been diverse types of innovations taking place in agriculture sector, which include commodity and stock market price information and analysis, meteorological data collection, advisory services to farmers for agricultural extension, early warning systems for disaster prevention and control, financial services, traceability of agricultural products, directly services and agricultural statistical data gathering.” As an example, Konuma noted FAO’s avian influenza intervention in Bangladesh where active surveillance of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 was carried out with the help of information and communication technology in a resource deficient country.

In remarks prepared for Tuesday’s session on agriculture Konuma is expected to say, “In knowledge intensive fields, such as agriculture, where every day we try to address new challenges brought about by climate change, desertification, drought, floods, disease and pests, the right solution lies in being able to adapt to change – for us to learn, relearn and discard information. We definitely need technologies – both emerging and established. to help us understand current trends and designs and to implement appropriate and sustainable ICT components together with effective partnerships. Together we must extend successful innovations and good practices widely and think of sensible solutions to address the problem of food security and agriculture.”

The SRII Asia Summit workshop will create a platform to facilitate a dialogue among various stakeholders, policy makers and ministries of agriculture in the region on the use of emerging technology for agricultural sustainable development. It will also look at current practices and public policies regarding the use of emerging technology and service innovation for sustainable agricultural development to address the challenges of rural poverty and food insecurity.

SRII is a non-profit organization that drives research and innovation for “IT Enabled Services” for a Better World It is led by senior leaders from major IT companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, and Infosys. Fostering research and innovations in fields such as agriculture, health care, governance and energy pave the way for a sustainable society.

National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) SRII Thailand Chapter, Kasetsart University and FAO, together with three ministries from the Government of Thailand, are hosting the 1st Service Research and Innovation Institute (SRII) Asia Summit with the aim of bringing together experts in various fields to share service innovations and engage in discussion.

 

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