Status of E-Agriculture Implementation in Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia


Status of E-Agriculture Implementation in Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia

FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia has just published a status report on the E-Agriculture implementation within selected FAO member countries in the region.

This publication coincided with the FAO Regional Conference for the region and the report is a follow-up to the Regional Capacity Development Workshop on National e-Agriculture Strategies in Europe and Central Asia, organized by FAO and the GAK, non-profit organization of the Gödöllő Agricultural University and with the valuable participation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

This effort follows FAO’s role in promoting the use of ICTs in agriculture and on how ICT innovations can improve agricultural production and value chains. The book reports that the workshop and the subsequent study produced the following main findings:

  • The emerging role of ICTs in Europe and Central Asia is clearly observed and experienced in the region as a driver for agricultural development, especially in light of the growing demand for reliable information and fast access to it at every level of the sector.
  • The state of the e-agriculture ecosystem varies from country to country, and is fragmented within the countries as well. This calls for a comprehensive strategic approach that would prioritize actions in order to maximize the benefits for the stakeholders involved in agriculture, food production, livestock, forestry and fishery at national level. At international and regional levels, it requires enhanced exchange and collaboration that would allow learning from neighboring countries’ experiences, hence avoiding repetition of mistakes and enabling faster development eventually.
  • Issues related to IT development have usually high priority in the countries of the region and a long activity record. Since the early 2000s, numerous attempts have been made in every country to formulate strategies related to the use of ICTs. Those strategies however, driven by national information society development, had either too broad a scope or were not effective in ensuring the involvement and ownership of the Ministries of Agriculture. As a consequence, no country had a comprehensive e-agriculture strategy in place by the time this report was prepared.
  • The process of country integration to regional economic organisations, such as European and Eurasian Unions, was seen as a powerful driver for increased efficiency of the institutional systems and that has triggered the interest and channelled the efforts of many governments towards formulating of a national e-agriculture strategy. The countries in the region however do not have enough capacity to go alone with the development and implementation of such strategies. Regional exchange and capacity development, facilitated by FAO, can offer sustainable solutions in this area.

A number of projects related to e-Agriculture in the selected member countries are profiled and these include, Albanian network for research, innovation and extension in agriculture platform; VERCON; AgroWeb Belarus; The Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Network, AgMarket, Agravista and many others.

The region has also embarked on a number of precision agriculture related initiatives, for example in Hungary, drones are used in agriculture by AgriDon Ltd, by focusing on low cost remote sensing applied to weed control, nutrient management, soil and damage mapping.

More information here