e-Agriculture Newsletter No.3, 2017

NewsletterIssued on 25.05.2017
Monthly Newsletter

e-Agriculture Newsletter No.3, 2017

©FAO/SWALIM,Goats watering at a borehole in Mudug region, Central Somalia


Somalia has a predominantly arid and semi-arid climate, and water demands for domestic use, livestock and irrigated agriculture are met from both surface and ground water sources. The FAO Somalia Water and Land Information Management System (SWALIM) uses information communication technologies to help the Somalia communities manage their precious resource - water! SWALIM works closely with Somali Government Water Authorities and the United Nations’ WASH Cluster (focusing on water, sanitation and hygiene) in developing water management and monitoring systems. 
The Somali Water Sources Live Map shows the geographic location of individual water sources (such as boreholes, dug wells, berkads, dams, springs and many other sources) while detailing the quality and quantity of water in each respective source. The Somali Water Sources Live Map is also referred to as the 'Live Map' due to its dynamic ability to query complex datasets on an easy-to-understand map interface.
The components of the water sources live map can be grouped into 4 categories:
  • Data collection,  
  • Data Quality Control,
  • Somalia Water Sources Master Database,  
  • Online live map application.
The system can be queried by end users and provides information related to water quality, photographs of the source, geographic location of the source, inspecting agencies and all this overlaid on google maps or satellite images.
To collect data, SWALIM conducts ground surveys through government ministry partnerships and local NGOs who collects data about each water sources visited. For each water source, detailed information is collected regarding the current operational status, physical characteristics, usage, and ownership. The collection of all this on-site data is done either by paper forms, SMS, Smart phones, tablets or computers.
Furthermore, water quality parameters, such as Salinity, pH, Total Dissolved Solids among other physico-chemical parameters are tested on site, and water samples are collected for detailed laboratory analysis for common compounds and heavy metals. Information about each respective water source is stored in the database and can be searched via the Live Map.
In the coming months the e-Agriculture team and SWALIM are rolling out webinars on how ICTs are used within this project. These will include the remote rensing in monitoring the charcoal production, SWALIM Digniin, an SMS-based flood alert application and the use of low cost smart phones for land and water data collection.
Visit SWALIM Website for more information . 



As reported in the last month's newsletter the e-Agriculture has organised a series of webinars in various aspects.

The following webinars are on schedule.

Date Title More information
24 of May 2017 -  16h CEST   Webinar on experience capitalization and good practices in ICTs in Agriculture (Spanish) Join
25 of May 2017 -  16h CEST  Webinar on experience capitalization and good practices in ICTs in Agriculture (French) Join
5 of June 2017 - 15h  CEST e-Agriculture Webinar on land and water data collection using low cost smartphones in Somalia Register

Meanwhile the following call is still open:-

Call for good and promising practices on the use of ICTs for Agriculture

Share your successful experiences with the community of practice and learn more about experience capitalization and documenting good practices - Deadline 1 July 2017




The following forum(s) on offer in the e-Agriculture Forum discussions. To participate in this and any other forums on e-Agriculture, you will need to be a registered member of the e-Agriculture Community.

©CC0 pixabay.com

Running Forum

Title : "Experience capitalization and good or promising practices on the use of ICTs in agriculture"

Dates: 26 to 31 of July 2017

Purpose: This forum is organized by FAO,the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the e-Agriculture Community of Practice (CoP). The forum acts as a Question and Answer Session for the series of webinars on "experience capitalization, good and/or promising practices on the use of ICTs in agriculture" offered in English, Spanish and French. This forum is ongoing from the 26 April to 31 June 2017.

Organisers: e-Agriculture/FAO and CTA

Upcoming Forum

Title: e-Forum on ICTs and Open Data in Agriculture and Nutrition

Dates: 19 June to 17 July 2017

Purpose: The purpose of this discussion is to explore how information communication technologies (ICTs) can be used in facilitating the fair use of open data in agriculture and nutrition by farmers in general and especially by the more vulnerable among them such as family farmers, rural women and the youth engaged in farming as a livelihood.

Organisers: e-Agriculture/FAO, WorldBank, GODAN and CTA

© GODAN, 2017

Upcoming Forum

Title: e-Forum discussion on the Agriculture Open Data Package

Dates: 10 July to 24 July 2017

Purpose: The purpose of this discussion is to reach out to the users of the e-forum to get feedback on the Agricultural Open Data Package (AgPack) and it’s usability. The organiser are interested in stories, examples of governments putting open data into action to enforce their agricultural sector and the hurdles that they had to overcome to realize this strategy

Organisers: GODAN and FAO/e-Agriculture

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

International Telecommunications Union (ITU)


ITU Celebrated the International Girls in ICT Day on the 27 of April 2017

International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated yearly on the 4th thursday in April. The aim of this day, organised by ITU, is to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider car​eers in the growing field of ICTs, enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector. read more

ITU leads the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

The 17th of May 2017 marked the World Information Society Day, a day that was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly resolution, following the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis.The main objective of the day is to raise awareness of societal changes brought about by the Internet and new technologies.It also aims to help reduce the digital divide.The theme for WTISD-17, "Big Data for Big Impact". read more


 Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA)


©CTA, 2017

Youth in agribusiness: shaping the future of agriculture

CTA in collaboration with the ACP Secritariat, The European Commission (DG DEVCO), Concord, PAFO and AgroCord organized the Brussels Policy Briefing no.49 during which the theme of 'Youth in agriculture' was discussed. The event had two panel discussions - (i) Employment creation for youth in the agricultural sector, and (ii) Young farmers and entrepreneurs: successes and opportunities ahead. The concept paper notes that, "Innovative application of ICT is a key element of the strategy to attract youth into the agricultural sector. ICT has great youth appeal from production to marketing and also has excellent potential to improve agricultural and agribusiness efficiency (real-time market information and price transmission; traceability, access to digital finance, access to services, support to business platforms…)"  read more

(source, Brusselsbriefings)



There are a number of ICT related projects and solutions in water management that FAO has invested in. A selection of these are highlighted below. Browse this months selection below.

FAO Water Productivity Open-Access Portal (WaPOR)

The WaPOR tool uses remotely sensed derived data and monitors agriculture water productivity in Africa and the Near East. This database helps farmers achieve more reliable agricultural yields.

This tool provides open access to the water database over underlying maps - the tool allows quering of data; time series analyses, area statistics related to water and land use assessments. The database searches through satellite data and its computation-intensive calculations are powered by Google Earth Engine. read more


FAO-SWALIM Flood Risk Management System (FRRMIS)

FRRMIS is a web-based information dissemination and sharing platform developed by FAO SWALIM to support the Somalia Interagency Flood Working Group (IAFWG). The system bring together the essential data and information on floods under a single user interface.

The system is based on GIS data of major flood years in Somalia and utilizes web mapping technology to integrate various types of flood information including rainfall forecasts, river bank breakages and river water levels. Using this system, the IAFWG is able to more effectively prepare for floods and implement existing contingency plan in a more informed way and therefore reduce flood risk in Somalia.read more


AQUASTAT is FAO's global water information system, developed to contribute to FAO's goals through the collection, analysis and dissemination of information related to water resources, water uses and agricultural water management, with an emphasis on countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The database offers data, reports, country profiles, river basin profiles, maps, tables and spatial data on water resources.  read more



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.

Drone Technology is aiding data collection for crop breeding in Africa

read more

Youth, Agriprenuership and the Sustainable Development Goals Workshop read more

10 years of M-Pesa: The world's most successful money transfer service

read more

ARI.FARM agricultural app brings Somali livestock farmers into the digital economy

read more

Tanzania uses drones to aid in mapping and prevent clashes over land

read more



Below you will find selected publications in ICTs related to agriculture, click and browse below

ICT and SDGs: How Information and Communications Technology Can Accelerate Action on the Sustainable Development Goals

This report calls on governments to harness technology, investment and new types of partnerships to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Case studies – including digital education and mobile money – illustrate transformative potential of ICT. Analysis of current SDG indicators highlights the need for new measurements to capture impact of technological transformation. read more


World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends 

Digital technologies have spread rapidly in much of the world. Digital dividends—that is, the broader development benefits from using these technologies—have lagged behind. In many instances, digital technologies have boosted growth, expanded opportunities, and improved service delivery. Yet their aggregate impact has fallen short and is unevenly distributed. For digital technologies to benefit everyone everywhere requires closing the remaining digital divide, especially in internet access. But greater digital adoption will not be enough. To get the most out of the digital revolution, countries also need to work on the “analog complements”—by strengthening regulations that ensure competition among businesses, by adapting workers’ skills to the demands of the new economy, and by ensuring that institutions are accountable.read more


The scope of the e-Agriculture Newsletter is to bring under 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 the newsletter, please contact us at e-agriculture@fao.org. You received this message because you are subscribed to the e-Agriculture Newsletter.