Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) Side Event on: “Digitalization in Food and Agricultural Markets and Trade”


Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) Side Event on: “Digitalization in Food and Agricultural Markets and Trade”

During the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) Side Event was held on Wednesday the 11th of March 2021. The event was webcast on FAO platform.

Background to the event

Digitalization is transforming economies and societies and already profoundly impacts foodand agriculture, which is facing significant challenges. Digital technologies can help increaseproductivity and generate economic, social and environmental benefits, accelerating progresstowards achieving the SDGs.Digital technologies can make agricultural and food markets more efficient and more inclusive.

Globally, since the end of the 1990s, improvements in information and communicationstechnology have also underpinned the development of global value chains, effectively linkingfarmers to traders and consumers across regions and countries.Digital technology applications – from text messages through mobile phones’ Short MessagingService (SMS) to e-commerce platforms and distributed ledger technologies – reducetransaction costs, improve the flow of information and promote efficient matching betweenfarmers, traders and consumers. This leads to increased market access and better outcomes interms of income and welfare.Digital certification schemes, such as e-Phyto, make global transactions less costly and moreefficient.

Digital e-commerce platforms, such as e-Choupal in India and Esoko in Africa –increase market access for smallholder farmers. Digital lending platforms link farmers, inputsuppliers, traders, financial institutions and insurance providers. Digital technologies canaddress multiple market failures and facilitate smallholder farmers’ integration in markets andvalue chains.

The real impact of digital technologies on agriculture will continue to be more evident in theyears to come, as their usage reaches a critical scale. At the same time, digital technologiesalso entail profound risks and challenges, which would require policymakers to address. Therole of governments will be significant in enabling adequate environments for innovations andfurther technological development. FAO and other stakeholders are establishing theInternational Platform for Digital Food and Agriculture to bridge gaps in understanding digitaltechnology's effects on agriculture and address the food system's most pressing needs.

Re-watch the event here 

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