FAO promotes connectivity and the development of digital skills in Uruguay
©Catalina Acosta Torres
The Representation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Uruguay, the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP) and the National Commission for Rural Development (CNFR) presented the “Basalto Superficial Digital Territorial Ecosystem”, an initiative developed in the framework of the South-South cooperation project: Digital transformation and innovation in agriculture”, which seeks to contribute to the development of digital skills of small producers in seven localities of the department of Salto.
The activity took place in Pueblo Fernández, located in the municipality of Mataojo, where one of the community centers included in the project will be set up. In these centers, small producers and young people of all ages will have computers, internet connection and the necessary furniture to participate in online training, carry out procedures, have access to digital markets and improve the visibility of their business on virtual platforms.
Gonzalo Kmaid, official in charge and assistant representative for FAO programs in Uruguay, said that the fundamental pillars of the project can be summarized as “connectivity, training and interinstitutional coordination”. He also stressed that the training programs in digital tools are not only designed for family farmers in the area, but also for other organizations of men, women and children who can be benefit from these trainings.
In addition to FAO, the event was attended for the mayor of Mataojo, María Rosita Moreno, the mayor of Pueblo Lavalleja, Antonio Tejeira, the director of the General Directorate of Rural Development of MGAP, Carlos Rydstrom, the director of decentralization of MGAP, Luis Carrese, the member of the technical team of the CNFR, Javier Texeira, and the president of the CNFR, Fernando López, who participated by teleconference. All the work is supported by the Mesa de Desarrollo Rural del Basalto Superficial, an interinstitutional articulation that has collaborated closely with the implementation of the activities.
Carlos Rydstrom, emphasized the multisectorial work that has been carried out to promote the opportunities for access to digital technologies in the rural communities involved, stating that “when we face these projects we always try to bring to the table as many institutions as possible, their points of view and what they have to contribute and enrich the project.”
For its part, Javier Texeira, said that “this project that we are implementing with FAO respond to very relevant demands of the area, which is very far from the urban area, has a shortage of public services and limited access to the development that digitalization has had. So, this allows a lot of tools that are available in more developed areas are also available in this area.”
It is important to highlight that, in addition to the people who attended in person, there were guests who participated virtually, demonstrating the optimal functioning of the connection and the equipment that will be available in the community centers.
Katalina Moyano, regional coordinator of the South-South Cooperation project: Digital transformation and innovation in agriculture, said that this event was a valuable opportunity to officially launch the pilot, but that the space for dialogue generated between the inhabitants of the sector and the authorities present was “even more enriching.”
“Knowing people’s expectations and their requirements is an important step so that we can steer the work in the right direction”, she stressed.
Delivery of technological equipment
In addition to the presentation of the “Basalto Superficial Digital Territorial Ecosystem”, the FAO team in Uruguay and the coordinator of the South-South Cooperation project: Digital transformation and innovation in agriculture met with Fernando López, director of the National Commission for Rural Development (CNFR) and two other members of the CNFR board, to officially sign the delivery of the technological equipment needed to fit out the community centers contemplated in the initiative.
The centers will be set up in the Salta towns of Paso Cementerio, Carumbé, Pueblo Lavalleja, Puntas de Valentín, Sarandí de Arapey, Pueblo Fernández, Cerros de Vera.