e-Agriculture Newsletter No.5, 2017

NewsletterIssued on 17.01.2018
Monthly Newsletter

e-Agriculture Newsletter No.5, 2017




The curtain of this year's World Summit on Information Society Forum (WSIS Forum) came down on the 16th of June 2017. The WSIS Forum, was co-organized by International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNESCO and UNCTAD. The theme of this year’s edition was, “Information and Knowledge Societies for SDGs". WSIS is the largest annual meeting of the 'ICT for development' according to ITU. High-level video addresses were offered by heads of UN Agencies from ITU, UNIDO,WIPO, ITC, UNESCO, ILO and the UN Secretary General

The WSIS Forum provides an opportunity for key stakeholders to exchange information, knowledge and sharing the best practices; to identify trends ; and foster a common partnership towards evolving information and knowledge societies. This year, the WSIS Forum discussions centered on the role of ICTs as a means of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets - in line with 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The various outcomes of this meeting are available, High-Level Track Outcomes and the Forum Track outcomes. One of the expectations of the WSIS Forum 2017 were the WSIS Action Lines and the SDGs, these will be published soon.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was present at WSIS Forum 2017, with a team lead by Mr. Samuel Varas (Director, Information Technology Division) who gave a statement on behalf of FAO's Director General, in the High-Level Tracks and discussions. In his statement, the meeting was challenged to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to solve world’s challenges and the realization of achieving the 17 developmental goals. The speech also set FAO's thrusts in ICTs and digital strategy of driving economic growth, promoting climate smart agriculture, improving livelihoods and increasing the efficiency of agricultural value chains. This was aptly stated,

"Digital solutions that can be harnessed for e-Agriculture may include devices, networks, services and applications. These can range from cutting edge internet-based applications, sensing tools, artificial intelligence and data analysis technologies to others that have been around for much longer, such as radio, telephones, television, telecommunication networks, mobile phones and satellites" 

FAO will continue to apply ICTs in the rural domain focusing on agriculture - farming, fisheries, livestock, and forestry- to boost agricultural and rural development. The meeting was briefed of FAO's innovative ways of packaging and delivering digital value added services to combat hunger and malnutrition.
FAO team participated in the following two sessions (i) Action line C7: e- agriculture, and (ii) the session "Building Capacity to leverage e-Agriculture applications and services" which were co-hosted by FAO and ITU to promote the use of ICTs in agriculture in supporting the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal(SDG) -2. 

Action Line C7. E-Agriculture; Democratizing Digital Innovation in Agriculture -FAO/ITU

FAO Moderated this section recognising the goal of ending poverty and hunger also within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. FAO seeks to apply innovative ways to use ICTs in the rural domain and also to boost agricultural and rural development. The goal of this session was to discuss how ICTs can improve rural livelihoods and increase incomes.

Some of the projects that were presented in this session include - 

Transcending from Infrastructure to Applications: Building capacity to leverage e-Agriculture applications

ITU in conjunction with FAO facilitated this session, under action line C4 and it attracted around 22 participants. This session assessed how capacity building using ICTs can support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (2) which aims at ending hunger and achieving food security and improved nutrition.

The session has panelist who shared their experiences in implementing different projects, programs and initiatives dealing with e-Agriculture applications. The following projects were shared, talking book by Cliff Schmidt, GSMA mAgri programme by Dominique Lazanski, use of IoT in Agriculture by Marco Zennaro, IGrow Asia by Muhaimini Iqbal and e-Agriculture by Imma Subirats.

The following were highlighted as the key achievements in this session, (i) reduction in the use of chemicals in farming, (ii) increased access to required information, (iii) awareness of sustainable farming methods. This session outcomes included the capacity development and awareness building. Capacity debelopments should include three dimensions - individual, organizational and enabling environment and also to involve all key stakeholders.


The following webinar is on schedule and also the recordings for the past webinars are now available. Did you miss any of the sessions? Tune in to the recordings as shown below.  

Upcoming Webinar

Title - e-Agriculture webinar on the Agricultural Open Data Package

Abstract. e-Agriculture,  the Food and Agriculture Organizaiton of the United Nations (FAO) and the Global Open Data on Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN ) are organizing a webinar to introduce interested individuals to the Agricultural Open Data Package (AgPack). 

Monday 10th of July 2017

Join: Morning Session (10 A.M)  and Afternoon Session (4 P.M) Rome Time

Past webinar recordings

Title – Remote control of water pumps with mobile phones in India (e-Agriculture Webinar)

Abstract. This video is the recording of a webinar organized by e-Agriculture and Nano Ganesh e-Irrigation.This innovation features an electronic hardware based remote control system, operated by a mobile phone with mobile​signal connectivity at both ends. It serves as an interface between the high voltage starters of the waterpumps and the low voltage GSM modules, enabling farmers to switch the water pump on and off and to check the availability of power. view video



Two forums are on schedule in the month of July, these are shown below

©FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico/FAO

Current  Forum

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

Dates: 19 June to 14 July 2017

Organizers: FAO of the United NationsWorldBank, GODAN and CTA


Upcoming Forum

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

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Global Open Data on Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) are inviting interested individuals to participate in this forum discussion on 'Agriculture Open Data Package' to be held on the e-Agriculture Platform.

Dates: 10 July to 24 July 2017

Organizers: GODAN and FAO of the United Nations


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

ICT Update : Applications for Agriculture



The new ICT Update, Issue 85 is available online and this issue covers the Applications for Agricultue, and reports that CTA is now moving towards the development of Apps4Ag database - which is envisaged as a comprehensive, up-to-date and responsive database of ICTs (includes mobile, web, animation and videos in the food value chains).

The article identifies thematic areas of interesting development rural advisory services, financial access, farm management, supply chain management, market access, and agricultural intelligence and knowledge.

Selected other articles in this issue

 FAO launches four new agricultural service apps in Africa

In a related news, the Food and Agriculture Organization along with several partners has launched four new agricultural service apps in Africa. FAO realises that many family farmers in developing areas do not have access to technology and digital agricultural services. Hence, through its digital service project the following Apps have been launched in Senegal and Rwanda respectively.

  • Cure and Feed your livestock - This app provides real time on animal disease and feeding strategies. Users will also be able to create farmer groups to exchange information and learn from others’ experiences and good practices
  • e-Nutrifood - Provides information on the production, conservation and consumption of nutritious foods. Quality information on nutrition is vital in fighting malnourishment, stunting and food insecurity
  • Weather and Crop Calender - Combines information about weather forecasts and crop calendars. Early warning services provide users with potential risks in and help increase farmer's resilience
  • AgriMarketplace - Connects producers and traders to facilitate price access and ease of trades. Farmers will have the opportunity to discover the best providers of raw materials as well as the best marketplaces to sell their products and the market prices,  Read more


The e-Agriculture activities are co-ordinated from the FAO Headquarters, however, there are a lot of activities happening in the regions.Below we provide some news and events happening in the FAO regional offices.

image credits: EFITA

Europe and Near East

Overview of the EFITA 2017- 11th Conference on Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment

EFITA is the European conference dedicated to the future use of ICT in the agri-food sector, bioresource and biomass sector. The 2017 conference, which is the 11th of the series is being held in Montpellier in France from the 2nd to the 6th of July 2017. According to the conference website, there are 200 participants that are expected from around 30 countries. This year's conference is held in collaboration with the World Congress on Computers in Agriculture (WCCA).. read more

Up coming events 

Corto & Fieno – Rural Film Festival - Ameno, Omegna and Miasino, Lake Orta, Italy  - 15th, 16th and 17th September  read more

Near East and North Africa Region

The following two key meetings are on schedule in this region,

E-agriculture Strategy: Stakeholders Consultation Workshop on Development of Sudan e-agriculture Strategy
Venue: Sudan
Dates: September 2017

E-agriculture Strategy and Solutions: Regional Forum on e-Agriculture in Near East and North Africa

Venue: Egypt
Dates: December 2017


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.

Plantix lets farmers recognize plant diseases, pests and nutrient diffidences just by sending a picture

read more

Statement from Mr Samuel Varas, (FAO, CIO Director) on behalf of FAO Director General at WSIS Forum 2017

read more

WSIS 2017 Outcomes

read more

What is the future of ICT4Ag?

read more

Media category 2017 WSIS Project Prize goes to Agribusiness TV

read more
Seminar Summary: Towards Inclusive Rural Communication Services, contributing to poverty reduction and the SDGs read more


This month we focus on the WSIS FORUM INTERVIEWS.  Action Line Facilitator for the UN agencies that are facilitating specific action lines. 

WSIS FORUM 2017 Interviews: Action Line Facilitators (video 1)


This video shows interviews with the following specific action lines - Action Line e-employment (ILO); Action Line e-Business; Action Line C4 Capacity Building, Action Line on e-environment; Action Line ICT infrastructure; Gender mainstreaming and ITU WSIS Team coordination. view this video

WSIS FORUM 2017 Interviews: Action Line Facilitators (video 2)


This video shows second part interviews with action line Action e-Agriculture, (details that smallholder farmers need ICT to increase income and improve their livelihoods); e-Science, Building confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs, and access, and UNESCO WSIS coordinator . view this video 

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