What is resilience and how can ICTs help resilience programmes or projects? (28 th november)

Shukri Ahmed
Shukri AhmedFAOItaly

Shukri Ahmed, Deputy Strategic programme Leader, Resilience – FAO 

People who rely on farming, livestock, forests or fishing for their food and income, around one-third of the world’s population, are among the most vulnerable and affected by natural hazards and human-induced crises, from droughts, floods, earthquakes and disease epidemics to conflict, market shocks and complex protracted crises. When we talk about resilience, we are referring to the ability of people and communities to prevent the impacts disasters and crises as well as to anticipate, absorb, and recover from them in a timely, efficient and sustainable manner. This includes protecting, restoring and improving livelihoods systems in the face of threats that impact agriculture, nutrition, food security and food safety. 

Interventions by FAO, as a specialized technical agency, and other humanitarian and development organizations that strengthen resilience cover a wide scope of sectors and approaches at individual, community and institutional levels. Some of these interventions focus on a specific aspect of building resilience, for example floods or animal diseases. FAO colleagues from different technical divisions will share their experiences throughout this online forum. 

The wide scope of interventions in the field of resilience could benefit significantly from more interlinkages. Increased coordination and increased exchange of experiences will be necessary to tackle these global problems in a more integrated way. 

This forum offers us the opportunity to look into different experiences on the use of ICTs for resilience. Indeed, we see that ICTs play a key role in our resilience building programmes and projects. Early warning systems, timely availability of agro-inputs using e-vouchers, credit supply by mobile money transactions, mobile applications to signal animal disease outbreaks and centralized information centers to handle pest control data are all examples of how ICTs are valuable in supporting our collective work to build the resilience of the most vulnerable and at risk. 

Interesting initiatives such as Abalobi, developing applications to empower fishermen and that are in line with the Small Scale Fisheries Voluntary Guidelines is a good example of ICTs for development working in the context of global policies and guidelines to increase efficiency. Other examples include the World Bank’s CAPI (computer assisted Personal Interviews) technology developed to assist governments, statistical offices and non-governmental organizations in conducting complex surveys with dynamic structures using tablet devices. 

This forum is an opportunity to share information and capitalize on our experiences, think about how different systems and tools can be linked, and to better understand how ICTs can better support our collective endeavor in building/strengthening resilience. 

I am looking forward to reading your thoughts about the topic, learning from your experiences, sharing our knowledge, and reflecting on next steps, including framing recommendations on the use of ICTs for resilience for decision and policy makers.

Thank you Mr. Ahmed for opening our forum and for introducing the topic of the online discussion.

The e-Agriculture Team is also looking forward to discuss with the Community of Practice this important topic. Would you have any questions we remain available to help. Send us private messages through the platform or write to info@e-agriculture.org. We hope to read many of you soon! 

Mireille Nsimire
Mireille NsimireIITADemocratic Republic of the Congo

Hi Shukri Ahmed, Deputy ,

Thanks alot for this powerful Instruduction on How ICT can Help Resilience Project or Program. I beleive this forum will help us to classify type of ICT Services and tools being provided to enhance agricultural development. I've Just realized  that I do many ICT stuff without classifying them............. hoping to learn more during this forum.


KAZIKA KAMOSINGODemocratic Republic of the Congo

Réponse Q.1: a. Qu'est-ce que la résilience et comment les TIC peuvent-elles aider les programmes ou projets de résilience?

Pour aborder cette question de la "resilience" mot utilisé dans plusieurs contextes économiques, financiers, climatiques, et psychologiques...la résilience est comprise comme " la capacité d'adapatation et/ou de résisiter face à un choc" qui peut être intrinsèque ou extrinsèque". Cette capacité permet à l'élément en jeu de pouvoir prendre une nouvelle forme pour mieux faire face ou prendre un état initial après le choc.

Et, comment les TIC peuvent -elles aider les programmes ou de résilience, ...ils peuvent aider de plusieurs manière:

1.  Dans la prévention par la collecte, l'analyse et le traintement des données , lesquelles permettront la prise de décision " résilience préventive ou adaptation préventive ou pro active"

2. Par les Alertes Rapides et Précoces diffusées au travers des messageries, des flux RSS...

3. Par la réponse directe au choc " Réponse à un choc " c'est la résilience réactive.



Merci Aimé pour votre contribution! Pour tout les participants - l'équipe e-Agriculture va essayer d'assurer une traduction des contributions en français ou en espagnol vers l'anglais durant le forum. Au cas ou il y aura trop de contributions nous allons faire un petit résumé en anglais. Désolé pour les possibles erreurs car nous essayons de faciliter rapidement!

Dear participants. The e-Agriculture team will provide translation of the French and Spanish posts to English to facilitate the participation of people in different regions. If to many contributions come in - we will translate a summary. Sorry for possible mistakes - we try to react and translate quickly! 

Post from Aimé Kazika - Democratic Republic of Congo

Answer Q.1: a. What is resilience and how can ICTs help resilience programs or projects?

To address the issue of "resilience", a word used in several economic, financial, climate, and psychological contexts ... Resilience is understood as "the ability to adapt and / or resist to a shock" that may be intrinsic or extrinsic. This ability allows one to take a new shape to better cope or resume an initial state after a shock.

And, how can ICTs help programs or projects on resilience, ... they can help in several ways

1. In prevention through the collection, analysis and training of data, which will enable decision-making "preventive resilience or preventive or proactive adaptation"

2. By the Rapid and Early Alerts distributed through messages, RSS feeds ...

3. By the direct response to the shock "Response to a shock" - this is the reactive resilience





JOEL LE TURIONERAfricAgriConsultFrance

Merci Mr Ahmed et merci Mrs Alice d'ouvrir les débats. Si la résilience économique en agriculture est la capacité de revenir vers la croissance après un coup d'arrêt  brutal et/ou durable, il est évident que  l'usage des TIC dans certains domaines agricoles participe grandement à la résilience de ce secteur. En effet, si nous prenons l'exemple de l'accessibilité en intrants agricoles au niveau des agriculteurs dans les pays africains (pour ne parler que de ce que je pense connaïtre), l'utilisation des TIC dans le cadre de l'utilisation des vouchers électroniques ou à lecture électronique, permet d'avoir accès à des intrants de qualité, auprès du réseau de distribution du secteur privé sans provoquer de distorsion commerciale sur le marché et tout en assurant la traçabilité des transactions commerciales. A ce titre on peut bien parler de résilience dans la mesure ou de nombreux programmes étatiques de "promotion des intrants agricoles" se sont soldés par des échecs et dans la mesure où le manque de traçabilité et de "vérité des prix" entraînent plutôt les agriculteurs vers une baisse de leur profitabilité. Par contre, dans les programmes d'accessibilité et de subvention des intrants utilisants les TIC comme les vouchers à lecture électronique et les plateformes informatiques de traçabilité, les agriculteurs ont pu améliorer très significativement leurs revenus grâce à l'utilisation d'intrants de qualité, au juste prix, disponibles au bon moment tout en ayant accès aux conseil agricole (étatique ou privé) afin de les utiliser au mieux. Ils ont donc repris le chemin de la croissance après des années et des années d'immobilisme, voir de régression économique.



Pietro Aldobrandini
Pietro AldobrandiniFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)Italy

Thank you Mr Ahmed and Mrs Alice for opening the debate. While economic resilience in agriculture is the ability to return to growth after a sudden and / or sustained downturn, it is clear that the use of ICTs in some agricultural areas plays a major role in the resilience of this sector. Indeed, if we take the example of the accessibility of agricultural inputs at the level of farmers in African countries (to speak only of what I think I know), the use of ICTs in the use of Electronic vouchers or electronic reading, provides access to quality inputs to the private sector distribution network without causing market distortion and ensuring the traceability of commercial transactions. As such, one can speak of resilience to the extent that many state programs of "promotion of agricultural inputs" have failed and to the extent that the lack of traceability and "price truth" turn the farmers towards a decline in their profitability. On the other hand, in accessibility and subsidy programs for inputs using ICTs such as electronic vouchers and computerized traceability platforms, farmers were able to significantly improve their incomes through the use of quality inputs, at the right price, available at the right time while having access to agricultural advice (state or private) in order to make the best use of them. They have therefore resumed the path of growth after years and years of stagnation, see economic regression.

Santosh Ostwal
Santosh OstwalOssian Agro Automation Private LimitedIndia

Today the overall population's life style and expectations are almost connected with luxury cars, shopping malls, communication tools with extreme comforts. But, we are forgetting the class of population who is bringing food on our table, who is fighting against all odds for producing meals for us.

We have to look not into only improving agriculture but their personal life too in all dimensions. We have to empower the farmers with different aspects like material, emotional support, education, health and soical inclusion. We have to put energy to their life in such a way that they will work on the farms with happy mood, enthusiasm and love. They should be given an awareness and feeling that they are the only class of people who feeds the whole world. The building up of confidence among them will be automatically a positive driving factor in their routine work.

In a simple language, resilience means to energise...to refresh...to blossom the farmers from inside out from person, family and farms. ICT role is quite vital and crucial in different farm activities , family welfare and overall life style. ICT for information, education, entertainment, controlling, monitoring, communication, savings, health care of man-animal-machine....etc. There is a big list of proven ICT technologies which are already beiing used by urban and industries but with some imporvisations can be used for solving the problems faced by the farmers. There is a need to build an appropriate ICT by understanding the problems of the farmers from their perspective. There is a need to understand the challenges in the implementation. 

Once the real life of the farmers is understood, the list of ICTs and innovations which can be used to empower the farmers will be surely an unending matter. There are different proven applications like ICT for dairy farms, Nano Ganesh for controlling and monitoring irrigation, different videos, ERP platforms, data-cloud services etc. about which ample material has been already published across the web. But, the need is to scale-up the activities for deeper penatration of ICTs beyond pilot projects.

Hope, with these primary inputs, forum is gearing up...! My best wishes to all participants who are keen to work for the benefit of the farmers....!

Walter de Oliveira
Walter de OliveiraFood and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsMozambique

In addition to what Pietro said on the use of ICTs through e-Vouchers (without causing market distortion) and ensuring the traceability of commercial transactions, improving resilience should also been seen as the potential of providing smallholder farmers with the flexibility of choosing the right moment to purchase inputs. This is particularly valid in Mozambique.
Smallholder farmers need to really be able to decide “what, when and how” to purchase inputs, produce and market their products. ICT can and must provide this flexibility.

Thembani Malapela
Thembani MalapelaFood and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsItaly

Thank you all for your contributions, to add on to the discussion...in my own view resilience implies that communities are able to withstand different challenges affecting agriculture. While conditions that are affecting agricultural activities are due to a number of factors, agriculture in Africa is threatened by environmental, humanitarian, economic and political factors that inhibit the investment and productivity in the sector. How can we keep farmers on the ground? how can we make them offset these challenges (shock )? - built a form of resilience, able to stay on the land.

A number of interventions have been initiated over the years, however ICTs have outlived their predecessor (s)  -in terms of comparative innovations - for example electricity has not penetrated to all parts of the world. It is commonly agreed that the use of ICTs in agriculture are poised to improve and offset challenges bedeviling African agriculture (as well as other parts of the world) - in areas such as land management, weather forecasting, early warning systems, input support schemes, cash distribution and market information systems. Examples specific to each and some of these areas have been alluded to by the previous contributors to this forum.

My specific contribution goes to the adoption of ICTs with regards to resilience in disaster areas, conflict zones and inaccessible areas. ICTs have penetrated to most humans that any other form of innovation. This has made the adoption of ICTs in resilence projects within regards to supporting communities in accessible areas have been useful, examples are seen in SWALIM, in Somalia.... In most countries the mobile telephony has been the backbone of reaching out to cut off agricultural communities.It will be also interesting to get views of other on protracted crisis areas....If well used ICTs can be a backbone infrastructure for early warning systems i.e in the case of climate and weather related disatsers. They can also be used with regards with conflict to help set up on-demand services for isolated farmers. The potential is great.....