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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Enhancing agricultural development through information and communication

Meeting with International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General

28 October 2016, Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today met the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, Houlin Zhao, for talks on joint cooperation to develop e-agriculture strategies – a field focusing on using improved information and communication processes to enhance f agricultural and rural development and the livelihoods of rural communities.

FAO, with ITU’s support, is already directly involved with e-agriculture strategies to assist countries in developing national e-agriculture visions, action plans and implementation strategies.

Graziano da Silva and Zhao discussed action elements of a soon to be signed agreement to further cooperate in the areas of meteorology, agriculture prices (expanding the Agricultural Markets Information System (AMIS) Project), statistics, nutrition  and food security, applications for farmers, e-learning, machine learning and satellite regulation. Zhao also demonstrated interest in scaling up adoption of the National e-Agriculture Strategy Guide, developed by FAO and the ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, with the intention of helping countries develop their national e-agriculture strategy and identify and develop sustainable ICT in agriculture services and solutions.

The Director-General also underscored FAO’s interest in following the work of the Broadband Commission Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, which was established in May 2010 with the aim of boosting the contribution and importance of broadband technologies in the international policy agenda, and expanding broadband access in every country, as key to accelerating progress towards national and international development targets.

FAO’s recently-launched “Somalia Water and Land Information Management project”, an innovative programme aimed at using ICTs to manage land and water resources in the African country, was awarded the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Champion Prize in 2016.  

Ongoing collaboration

As part of the existing collaboration, FAO and ITU facilitated the an e-agriculture line at WSIS, the world's largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community, held in may 2016. Both organizations co-organized a session on the linkages between ICTs and nutrition.

FAO’s Director-General stressed the potential of ICT as a useful tool to address the multifaceted nature of nutrition by enhancing agricultural systems, improving access to healthy diets, improving knowledge for food choices, increasing resilience of food systems to economic, climatic and human-made shocks, and helping to remediating food-borne threats to consumers.

FAO is currently starting the new project “Agricultural Services and Digital Strategy in Africa” to provide a portfolio of mobile applications to family farmers in Senegal and Rwanda by developing solutions for animal health, nutrition, meteorological, trade and financial, and other needs.

Last May, FAO also published the “e-Agriculture 10 Year Review Report”, with a focus on the topic of ICTs in agriculture and rural development.

 

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