FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Digital Excellence in Agriculture in Europe and Central Asia - Regional Contest

Digital Excellence in Agriculture in Europe and Central Asia

In November 2020, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, together with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Offices for Europe and CIS launched the “Digital Excellence in Agriculture in Europe and Central Asia” contest to identify, showcase and celebrate good practices and innovative solutions that have proven successful in advancing the digital transformation of agriculture in the regions.  

This call constituted the first phase of the regional contest aimed at awarding effective initiatives and projects with special recognition of Digital Excellence in Agriculture

To qualify, the good practice had to prove successful in addressing at least one of the following challenges:

  1. Regulatory frameworks/ Enhanced market access/ Financial services and insurance;
  2. Capacity development and empowerment;
  3. Agriculture innovations systems and sustainable farming;
  4. Disaster risk management and early warning systems;
  5. Food loss and waste / Food safety and traceability.

However, due to the large number of applications received and the need to recognize the higher number of good practices it was decided to increase the number of categories as following: 

  1. Regulatory frameworks/ Enhanced market access/ Financial services and insurance;
  2. Capacity development and empowerment;
  3. Agriculture innovations systems and sustainable farming - Farm automation, robots, drones;
  4. Agriculture innovations systems and sustainable farming - Specific solutions
  5. Agriculture innovations systems and sustainable farming - Connected farm management systems;
  6. Disaster risk management and early warning systems;
  7. Food loss and waste / Food safety and traceability.

With nearly 200 applicants from 38 countries in the regions, the initiative revealed a diverse, dynamic and future-thinking ecosystem of innovators and problem-solvers. It empowered individuals and organizations applying innovative methods of ICTs to showcase solutions and best practices in response to the agriculture challenges of Europe and Central Asia.

Shortlisted candidates will receive the opportunity to present their innovations and outstanding achievements at the “Digital Excellence in Agriculture” online awarding ceremony, taking place on 23 September 2021 within the context of the ITU Regional Innovation Forum for Europe. Furthermore, submissions to this call qualified to compete for the ITU's World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) 2021 awards.

The regional contest follows six phases:

  1. Submission of good practices from 4 November until 11 January 2021;
  2. Nomination of outstanding practices in the course of May 2021;
  3. Production of a stocktaking report including all good practices received;
  4. Selection of the finalists and awardees;
  5. Production of a special promotional video focusing on outstanding good practices as well as the production of the Digital Excellence in Agriculture report;
  6. Digital Excellence in Agriculture in Europe and Central Asia" online awarding ceremony (23 September 2021).

This regional contest is a follow up of the joint FAO-ITU review on the Status of Digital Agriculture in 18 Countries of Europe and Central Asia, where information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have been clearly observed to play an emerging role in Europe and Central Asia in the field of agriculture.

This regional contest contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda set by the United Nations, and in particular SGD 2 “Zero Hunger", in order to close the digital, rural and gender divides, known as the triple divide and include all members of society in the digital transition. The contest is also an important milestone in the implementation of the FAO and ITU Regional Initiatives.  

Read more about the FAO Regional Initiatives for Europe and Central Asia here.

Read more about the ITU Regional Initiatives for Europe here and for CIS here

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