e-Agriculture Newsletter Issue #1, 2018

NewsletterIssued on 22.06.2018
Monthly Newsletter

e-Agriculture Newsletter Issue #1, 2018

© FAO/Basterretxea,Txaran


The curtain of 2018 came down, and as we begin the year e-Agriculture is hopeful to main the 2017 momentum in facilitating the dialogue, information exchange and sharing ideas related to the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in agriculture and rural development.

We are looking forward, first and foremost, to the launch of a newly improved and redesigned platform under the FAO Domain. This will provide the community with a corporate look at feel and while maintaining the core- services, such as News, Blogs, Forum Discussions and other capacity development activities, such as webinars and short-paced learning activities.

On the actual activities, we are looking ahead into 2018 to restarting forum discussions around topical subjects within ICTs; webinars that are collaboratively organised with the community and also unpacking new concepts in self-paced e-Agriculture learning activities. Themes such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Precision Agriculture, Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, are slowly emerging in the discussion of ICTs for agriculture. Already, the platform has started to cover these areas, however, the community members are free to suggest a topics by sending an e-mail.

In retrospect, e-Agriculture team held a number of activities which includes the two successful e-forum discussions The Role of ICTs in Sustainable Crop Production Intensification (SCPI) of horticulture crop based system (mainly fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers) and the e-Forum on ICTs and Open Data in Agriculture and Nutrition.

These saw more than 181 posts on the platform and brought in more than 600 new registered users. Also in the highlight are a number of capacity development activities these include the 16 e-Agriculture Webinars, which generated more than 470 participants and the e-Agriculture Learning Activity on drones in Agriculture. The learning activity saw 720 registered participants who followed the course, participated in a number of live sessions.

The call for Good and Promising Practices in Agriculture was successful and it saw 22 submissions with 15 selected and reviewed with partners, of which 3 were presented in respective webinars.

The diary from the community and partners predicts a busy 2018 with regards to ICT4D, for example the WSIS Forum 2018 is on the 19- 23 March where FAO and ITU are co-sponsoring the #HackAgainstHunger, then on the 8-10 May Zambia hosts the ICT4D Conference, and a number of webinars in the community. Let us know if you have events planned out for 2018 within ICT4Ag.


The e-Agriculture Team regularly plans with partners a number of capacity development activities. These are either webinars, online learning activities, workshops and other learning approaches. 

Recording of the e-Agriculture Webinar : ZFU Ecofarmer Combo: discussing cross-sector partnerships in ICT4Ag with Mercy Corps

Did you miss this webinar? Find attached the recording of this last webinar on ZFU Ecofarmer Combo.

Abstract: The ZFU Ecofarmer Combo is a bundle of services developed by Econet, the largest Mobile Network Provider in Zimbabwe, and the Zimbabwe Farmers Union, with the support of Mercy Corps. It was one of the best promising practices submitted for the e-Agriculture “call for good and promising practices” earlier this year and therefore we invited Trey Waters and Mildred Makore from Mercy Corps to a live e-Agriculture webinar to discuss this interesting ICT for agriculture innovation with the members of our Community of Practice. Watch the recording here



The following is a selection of the news and ICT activities from e-Agriculture partners. The full listing of e-Agriculture partners can be found here

The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA)

CTA: The APPS4AG Database

The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) created the APPS4AG database. The database is an initiative that was started to address this challenge, by building a comprehensive, up-to-date and responsive Apps4Ag database to better support to uptake of ICT and mobile applications by individuals and institutions. The APPS4AG database seeks to do this through:-

  • Collating and documenting ICT apps for agriculture
  • Mapping the apps along the agricultural value chain framework
  • Pilot testing its framework on selected apps and building a community of practice around Apps4Ag

More information here

Policy brief: Leveraging ICT innovations to support farmers and farmers' organisations

CTA publishes a policy brief that seeks to concertize policy makers on the need of smallholder farmers to be included (in technological innovations) and to empower them to leverage information and communications technology (ICT) innovations for greater productivity and efficiency.

The following policy actions are needed, in order to include smallholder farmers:-

  • Promote enabling environments and uptake of ICTs that respond to the needs of smallholder farmers.
  • Strengthen the capacity of small-scale farmers to use ICTs
  • Improve the training and ICT proficiency of national extension agents
  • Use ICTs to deliver data-driven products and services and develop associated business models that drive improved productivity, profitability and resilience of farmers.

More information here

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU)

WSIS Prizes 2018 - Deadline extended

Do you have an innovative project in ICT4D? Do you think that your project is supporting the SDGs with the ICT4SDGs? Do you want international recognition of your project and also want to share to others what you are working on?

Then ITU invites you to submit your entries by the 14th of January 2018. The extension allows for time for interested projects to bid for this prestigious award.

More information here


 #HackAgainstHunger Hackathon Opens 

#HackAgainstHunger is hackathon challenge promoted by FAO and ITU ( and partners) based on end hunger and food security topics. Do you have an idea to ensure food security, decrease malnutrition or prevent famine? Join the #HacAgainstHunger! 

When? Sunday 18th and Monday19th of March 2018, Where? ITU Headquarters in Geneva

Please note that two regional phases (Africa and Caribbean) will precede the global one, which will take place in Geneva on March 18th and 19th during the WSIS Forum 2018

More information here


Below we highlight a selection of news published on e-Agriculture, these include news articles on ICTs, activities in the agriculture and rural development. The full news listing can be read here.

ICT4Ag month on Agrilinks

read more

A virtual market platform for farmers

read more

Can ICTs be used to protect forestry resources?

read more

Using drones for indigenous mapping and monitoring

read more

FAO trains extension workers in latest data collection technology

read more

The possibilities of Internet of Things (IoT) for Agriculture

read more

WHAT IS......Blockchain Technology

This section will introduce each time a new technological term used in agriculture and explain what it means. Furthermore, links to some resources will be provided. To suggest new terms write to us 

What is Blockchain Technology?

The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value - Source Blockgeeks

How is blockchain used in agriculture? Read this blog here

The purpose of the e-Agriculture Newsletter is to bring to the attention of the e-Agriculture community recent news, events and achievements in the field of ICTs and agriculture. If you have any contribution, suggestion, or need assistance with receiving this newsletter, please contact us at e-agriculture@fao.org. You received this message because you are subscribed to the e-Agriculture Newsletter