E-Agriculture Strategy Guide


E-agriculture offers strong potential for driving economic growth and raising incomes among the rural poor through increased efficiency of agricultural production, improved livelihoods and value chain development. It can also play an important role in addressing some of agriculture’s most pressing challenges, which include climate change, loss of biodiversity, drought, desertification, promoting agricultural trade, high individual risk and inefficient supply chains.

Put simply, e-agriculture involves designing, developing and applying innovative ways to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) with a primary focus on agriculture. The aim is to boost agricultural and rural development by improving access to valuable information that can help agricultural stakeholders to make the best possible decisions and use the resources available in the most productive and sustainable manner. ICTs that can be harnessed for e-agriculture may include devices, networks, services and applications. These can range from cutting edge Internet-based technologies and sensing tools to other technologies that have been around for much longer, such as radio, fixed telephones, televisions, mobile phones and satellites. In a sector that is becoming increasingly knowledge intensive, having access to the right information, at the right time, in the right format, and through the right channel can make a crucial difference to the livelihoods of stakeholders involved in agriculture and related fields.

Setting in place a national e-agriculture strategy is an essential first step for any country planning on using ICTs for agriculture (ICT4Ag). Any effective roadmap for e-agriculture will require a holistic, multi-stakeholder approach as ICTs are also driving other sectors critical for agriculture, namely banking, weather monitoring, land use, insurance, logistics and e-governance.

Enabling policies and collaboration framework will be crucial if e-agriculture is to flourish, with cross-cutting support spanning various government ministries, including those dealing with ICTs, food production and processing, rural development, irrigation and water management, disaster management, telecommunication, governance, transportation, finance and commerce, amongst others. Such inter-sectoral collaboration through sharing, analyzing and delivering information generates great synergies; not only in terms of saving resources but also by promoting innovative services and generating new business opportunities.