Read the Digital Technologies in Agriculture and Rural Areas Report
A new publication by FAO that maps the adoption and use of digital innovations and technologies in agriculture has been published.
The full report can be downloaded in the following links
The full status report in English, link http://www.fao.org/3/ca4985en/ca4985en.pdf,
The briefing paper in six UN languages through links below:
- http://www.fao.org/3/ca4887zh/ca4887zh.pdf (Chinese):
- http://www.fao.org/3/ca4887es/ca4887es.pdf (Spanish):
- http://www.fao.org/3/ca4887ru/ca4887ru.pdf (Russian)
- http://www.fao.org/3/ca4887fr/ca4887fr.pdf (French)
- http://www.fao.org/3/ca4887ar/ca4887ar.pdf (Arabic)
- http://www.fao.org/3/ca4887en/ca4887en.pdf (English)
The report is published amidst well-known challenges faced in food and agriculture and the expected future challenges due to forecasted population growth.
Digital agriculture (digital agricultural revolution) could be the most transformative and disruptive and is poised to transform the agrifood value chain. A number of factors will contribute to the success of digital technologies in agriculture, these include:
- Mobile connectivity has grown, already 70% of the poorest 20% in developing countries have access to mobile phones (Worldbank, 2016)
- More than 40% of the global population has internet access
Quick Summary of the report
The report comes with a short briefing paper that summarises the contents of the report and it initially explores the concept of digital agriculture divide.
It recognises the various divides (e.g. rural-urban, gender divide, etc.) that already exists and contends that digitalization will change agri-food value chain.
Digital agriculture has the potential to deliver economic benefits through increased productivity, cost efficiency and market opportunities, social and cultural benefits through increased communication and inclusivity.
The report identifies the following conditions for digital transformation:
- Basic conditions are the minimum conditions required to use technology and include: availability, connectivity, affordability, ICT in education and supportive policies and programmes for digital strategies;
- Enabling conditions (‘enablers’) are factors that further facilitate the adoption of technologies: use of internet, mobile phones and social media, digital skills and support for agriprenuerial and innovation culture.
While governments are investing infrastructure and some even investing in e-government services, low income countries still cannot access e-services due to lack of financial investments, limited user capabilities and unfavourable regulatory environments.
To establish a ‘digital agriculture ecosystem’ requires the creation of an enabling environment for innovation by farmers and agripreneurs. This include investing in digital skills among rural populations and encouraging digital agripreneurial and innovation culture.
The publication offers examples and impact cases on the use of digital technologies in AgriFood systems, and these include the use of mobile applications in providing price information for farmers and use of agricultural robots.
The following examples are included:-
- EMA-I APP, Animal Health System Support by FAO
- Dino Agrobot for Agriculture and Viticulture
- MYCROP- Complete Farm and Farmer Management System
- Alibaba Group Holding and JD.COM launches smart brain for pig farms
- Walmart tracks its lettuce from farm to blockchain
The reports concludes by itemising the challenges to connect marginalized and remote communities and identifying areas for future work.