FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Digital Village Initiative: Digital rural transformation to combat hunger, poverty and inequality

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is committed to helping facilitate that leap through its ‘1,000 Digital Village Initiative’. As a first step, at the request of the FAO Director-General, the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific has developed a framework for a pilot for its Members to help identify and support existing and potential digital villages in their quest to advance and improve livelihoods, agriculture, nutrition, health and well-being of their citizens.

FAO Members like China, India, Japan, and Republic of Korea are quite advanced in their own digitalization processes. Indeed, many more governments in the region are already partnering and collaborating with the private sector to pilot and expand digitalization programmes. 

Together with a multitude of partners in government, private sector and institutional innovators, resource and multilateral partners – farmers, fishers and all those who help feed a hungry world – we can upscale digitalization and make every village, township or rural community digitally connected, dynamic and prosperous.

Scoping and framing the Digital Villages Initiative in Asia and the Pacific

Rural transformation through digitalization in Asia-Pacific: A growing trend hastened by COVID-19

  • Internet connectivity and digital economy have been growing fast growth in Asia in recent years
  • COVID-19 has pushed digitalization to the forefront of policy making, national development strategies
  • Digital village concept translate digital agriculture strategies into action on the ground
  • Digital (or “smart”) village concept facilitate sustainable development in rural areas
  • Digital village should be viewed as a mean to close the rural-urban digital divide.

Framing the Digital Village

The Digital Village can be defined as a flexible, country-specific, ecosystem whose design and development must be guided by the principles of feasibility, inclusiveness and sustainability.

Feasibility:

  • Technology connectivity and internet access,
  • Low cost access to technology tools, solutions and means of delivery
  • Supportive policy, institutional and educational environment

Inclusiveness:

  • Users & beneficiaries,
  • Technology developers and digital services providers, 
  • Local authorities and enabling actors (banks, services, education and academia)

Sustainability:

  •  Technology adaptability, affordability and means for broad access to small scale farmers, herders, fisherfolks, household members and rural community residents
  • Digital literacy, skill building and training infrastructure,
  • Self-sustaining digital platforms; capable for dynamic expansion and scaling up