e-Agriculture Newsletter No.8, 2017
FOCUS ON THE STATE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE (SOFA 2017) AND ICTs
In October, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published ‘The State of Food and Agriculture’ 2017 (SOFA,2017). SOFA is one of FAO’s annual flagship publications that has been published constantly since 1947.
The State of Food and Agriculture aims at bringing to a wider audience balanced science-based assessment of important issues in the field of food and agriculture. SOFA, 2017 focused on leveraging food systems for inclusive rural transformation. The report noted that rural areas, seen as poverty traps, are key to economic growth in developing countries. The full summary of the report’s key messages can be read here.
SOFA and the potential of information and communications technology
One of the key messages of SOFA is that, “modern information and communication technologies are giving multiple options for buying inputs, selling outputs and improving their access to information” (SOFA,2017:49)
The report noted that there is potential in the use of information and communications technologies in helping countries eradicating hunger. The proliferation and improvement in mobile phone coverage and adoption was applauded. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, mobile phone networks covered less than 10% of the population in 1999 and to date the coverage has increased to 90%.
Some of the benefits of mobile phone increase noted included shortening the distance between isolated smallholder farmers and markets (and other essential services); improved extension support services, for example in India, the national government launched the Kisan Call Centre in 2014 to respond to questions raised by farmers in local dialects.
In Sri Lanka, a virtual trading floor, FarmerNet, connects produce buyers and farmers via text messaging. The other growing use being e-voucher and mobile finance systems for farmers. The report estimates that in future such systems could provide a platform for connecting millions of once-inaccessible small holder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
More information here
TWO G7 MINISTERS MEETINGS (AGRICULTURE and ICTs & INDUSTRY) HELD IN ITALY
The G7 Ministers meetings on ICT and Industry and the other on Agriculture were held in September and October respectively. The October 2017, G7 Agriculture ministerial meeting focused on the protection of producers’ income in the context of market crises, natural disasters and climate change. The meeting also looked at the role of agricultural cooperation in migration management. The discussions tied in well with the global issue of migration which also was the heart of discussion of the World Food Day on October 16th. Read more
While the G7 ICT and Industry Ministers met earlier in September 2017, where they discussed trends in technology and their impact on SMEs competitiveness and inclusiveness in the Next Production Revolution (NPR). In the declaration after the meeting they embraced openness as a key feature of the digital transformation. Read more
e-AGRICULTURE CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
e-AGRICULTURE FORUM REPORT PUBLISHED
The e-Agriculture Team held three forum discussions in 2017, these can be viewed in the forums page. The forum report for the 1st e-Agriculture Forum of the year is now published.
e-AGRICULTURE PARTNER'S NEWS
WHAT IS......Peer Assist?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