From your understanding and experiences, what is the role of ICTs in sustainable intensification of horticulture crop based s

Welcome everybody, to this global discussion on the role of ICTs in ‘Sustainable Crop Production Intensification’ (SCPI) with a particular focus on horticulture crop based systems (mainly fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers).

In the next three weeks, we are looking forward to exciting discussions – at the beginning of each week a guiding discussion question (setting the theme) will be posted on the forum and you are free to reply with your contributions.

As you know, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play a vital role in agricultural production. However, within horticulture crop-based systems, the application and use of ICTs is limited and less understood.

Many stakeholders within the agricultural sector highlighted the importance of ICTs for sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and facilitating access to agricultural information and services by marginalized groups (mainly women and the youth) and poor communities.

At the recently held G20 Ministers meeting, the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the  United Nations (FAO) remarked “ICTs can have a profound impact on the efficiency, resilience, and inclusion of poor family famers”, (Graziano da Silva -January, 2017).

The ability of ICTs to bring refreshed momentum to agriculture appears even more compelling in light of rising investments in agricultural research, the private sector’s strong interest in the development and spread of ICTs, and the upsurge of organizations committed to the agricultural development agenda; in the holistic achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Against this background, efforts were made by FAO, other UN Agencies and the broader developmental partners to apply various ICT solutions to the development agenda.

These efforts have been randomly reported and applied globally also within agriculture. The commonly known application of ICTs is in information dissemination and awareness raising through mobile phones and various applications, radio, TV, video, etc.

The latest technologies for sustainably increasing crop production include for example sensors for real-time traceability and the use of GPS data.  Leading towards precision farming and other climate smart farming practices.

With this in mind, I would like to invite you to share your practical experiences with the use of ICTs and emerging technologies in sustainable intensification of horticulture crop-based systems. We are looking forward to a fruitful discussion!

Innocent Chamisa
Innocent ChamisaThe Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ( FAO) Italy

Thank you Dr Wilfried for the opening remarks and setting the tone for the discussion. 

Dear participants, we are greatly honored and pleased to welcome you all, with this the floor is open for your contributions.

Looking forward to a fruitful discussion.

Forum Moderator.

Thembani Malapela
Thembani MalapelaFood and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsItaly

   Thank you Dr Wilfried for the opening remarks and setting the tone for the discussion.

   For any questions kindly send e-mail [email protected] or consult this blog

   Co-Forum Moderator

Gwynne Foster
Gwynne FosterInterlinks Traceability ServicesSouth Africa

The recording of data will increasingly be automated through the use of smart devices, sensors, drones etc.  ICTs in a variety of forms will receive and process the data. Interpretation and consequential actions will follow - with the results being recorded etc.  Ongoing planning, monitoring and improvement at a very granular level. There will need to be a common identification framework e.g. the GS1 Global Location Number (GLN).  The challenge will be that every farm and farming group will be unique.  Smallholder farmers would often not have the resources to participate and there is thus the opportunity to develop a new "technology as a service" industry.

Harris Moysiadis
Harris MoysiadisFuture IntelligenceGreece

From my experience gained from piloted Internet of Things technologies in smart agriculture, the multiple effects of the use of ICTs in sustainable intensification (I excluded the sustainability/ environmental gains that are pre-assumed in this hypothesis) are summarised as below: 

i. ICTs increase the productivity of the farm by lowering the supply of inputs to precisely match its contextual needs (context is based on soil moisture, temperature, EC, leaf-wetness etc) leaving unchanged or even improve the yield's quality and quantity

ii. ICTs increase the productivity of the farmer by rationalising the time spent for his farming and business activities. For example, operational tasks can be evaluated remotely and -when approved- also applied remotely; saving time and money for the farmer (e.g. irrigate without physical presence for assessing soil moisture and/or turn on the pump and activate the irrigation system), 

iii. marketing/business gains for the commercial launch of the products that were produced with the use of ICTs due to increased traceability of the cultivation practices. 

iv. Last, ICTs acquire, transmit and diffuse to relevant stakeholders data that relate to pre/ during/ post production phases. As a result, modern enterpreuners can benefit from the data treatment as a commodity that enables novel data-sharing business models and interelationships across the horticulture crop value chain. 

I would be glad to elaborate on these with anyone interested also bringing in the discussion specific technologies and projects for farmers, food processors, traders and consumers.


Thembani Malapela
Thembani MalapelaFood and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsItaly

Thank you for this contribution in the first week, do you think you can provide a case study of any ICTs in this week's question. Click here and submit your contribution

On behalf of the moderators

Albert Fosso
Albert FossoNHTNamibia

Thanks Mr. Wilfried Baudoin for the opening.

Personally i have used ICT technologies for training purpose in many projects, to record data, to help the youths to identify pests and diseases attacking vegetables in communities gardens, and also to  react fast and propose  an efficient method of treatement.




Wilbert  Johnsson
Wilbert Johnsson Independant consultant South Africa

Let me start by thanking the organizers of this forum, (Innocent, Thembani and their FAO colleagues) for availing such a wonderful opportunity to us. Further acknowledging and thanking Dr Wilfried for the great and insightful opening statement, which has indeed achieved its purpose in contextualising the discussion.

This is a well-timed dialogue, which is twinning, two very important subjects but maybe not so much covered by research in the recent yesteryears. ICTs and in particular sustainable intensification of horticulture crop based systems. Not to mention the need of consuming more of fruits and vegetables and the health benefits derived from the consumption of  hort produce. To such a background, there could not be a better time to have a global discussion on how we can tap into ICTs and sustainably intensify horticulture production.

It is my believe that, ICT is today and the future, its role in helping agriculture to produce more with less cannot be emphasised more, with the bourgeoning population , ever-changing climate, which are both exerting  pressure on the limited resources available for man and  might worsen in the very near future , if collectively, global actions are not taken today. We really need to start thinking differently and innovatively, encourage, embrace and share the alternative –sustainable ways of increasing productivity across the globe and for both smallholder and commercial production systems. To ensure increased horticultural productivity, there is need of such a holistic thinking and approach to this. Harnessing all the advantages which ICTs promise and has already put in place, (on small scale and offers the possibility of upscaling.) ICTs applications/ Global Positioning Systems/ Precision Agriculture, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) will have a very important role in sustainably increasing horticultural production. With this l am strongly looking forward to a very stimulating discussion on the potentialities  which the aforementioned parameters holds in producing more with less targeting horticultural systems. Having different global experts coming from different fields on this platform will undeniably enriches the discussion, and this is the way to go in achieving our global goal -ending hunger.

Clement TENGE TENGECentre d'Initiatives et d'Actions pour l'Auto-Développement " CIAAD"Democratic Republic of the Congo

Nous faisons l'expérience du reseau social pour développer des innovations aptes à produire des changements  dans les pratiques agricoles des explotants horticoles en milieu urbain. Nous sommes confronté à un sérieux problème d'utilisation abusive des produits chimiques dans les sites maraîchers. Nous rencontrons des jeunes ( femmes et hommes) engagés à produire dans les parcelles residentielles (Agricultures intélligente), avec mission de préserver l'environnement et la santé des consommateurs.

La préoccupation est de les faire accéder à un réseau de pairs et de mentors et de bénéficier des subventions de la FAO ainsi qu'un accompagnement regumier en TIC. Comme le cas d'Hortivar par exemple;

Translation to English provided by e-Agriculture

Smart horticultural production in residential areas.

We are experimenting various social networks tools, to develop innovations that can produce changes in the horticultural practices used by farmers in urban areas. We are confronted with a serious problem thus the misuse of chemicals in horticuture growing sites. We have met young people (women and men) who are practicing horticulture farming in their respective residential plots (Smart agriculture) having an objective to preserve the environment and the health of consumers. Our concern is to give them access to a network of peers and mentors and to have them benefiting from FAO’s funds as well as regular ICT support, for example case of http://www.fao.org/hortivar/.