By looking back, we can see significant changes in the ICT4Ag landscape, and draw lessons on how to move forward and address ongoing challenges for inclusion, adoption and innovation. This issue highlights three of ICT Update’s recurring themes: learning; barriers for inclusion and adoption of ICTs; and innovation and entrepreneurship.
In this issue
It is well-known that agriculture is a challenging sector to work in, and as a result, deters many young people from taking it over from their parents. However, many in the next generation are also recognising the opportunities; a rising middle class with more money and dietary preferences, closer ties between rural and urban areas through roads and transport, and the rise of new technology and digitisation – otherwise known as ‘the knowledge economy’.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) generally refer to an expanding assembly of technologies used to handle information and aid communication. ICTs enable individuals to create, collect, process and manage information in different ways (voice, text or image). There is scarcely a field of human activity today that has not been touched by the dramatic changes in ICTs. The use of ICTs in agriculture in ACP regions, for instance, is progressing, with growing appreciation of the importance of increasing access to information.
by Sophie Reeve
Tim Unwin discusses what is needed in ICT for Development collaboration and initiatives to ensure technology and data can truly benefit smallholder farmers.
The Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development in the Information Society initiative was established in 2002 to support projects aimed at leveraging ICTs to enhance farmer knowledge and productivity. But did the programme help to close the gender and urban-rural gap in ICT access? Or is there a need for the scheme to be rolled out again?
As the world’s population continues to increase, it is projected that crop yields will need to double to achieve food security. Sub-Saharan Africa alone holds 60% of the global inventory of uncultivated farmland; yet average crop yields continue to fall well below global averages. In addition to food security, increased agricultural productivity remains critical to alleviating entrenched poverty and improving livelihoods for the millions of farmers that survive on less than US$2/day.
Charles Wandera is a farmer in Masindi district, Uganda. The area was recently hit with an infestation of the invasive Fall Armyworm; recently arrived in Africa, Armyworm caught farmers off guard in Masindi, leaving them unaware of how to defend their crops against the pest. Wandera turned to radio for a solution. He has been listening to a programme on Radio Kitara, supported by Farm Radio International (FRI), a Canadian NGO that works with radio broadcasters to deliver programmes aimed at small-scale farmers and their communities.
CTA is an international organisation established by statute, with headquarters in the Netherlands. Its mission is to advance food security, resilience and inclusive economic growth in ACP countries through innovations in sustainable agriculture. Throughout the last decade, CTA has been at the forefront of identifying cutting-edge technological innovations, promoting digital literacy and skills, and providing training and capacity-building for agricultural stakeholders to innovate and utilise digital agricultural solutions.
In this issue, we reflect back on almost 20 years of ICT Update (nearly 100 issues). ICT Update’s objective has always been to capture contemporary developments in ICTs for agriculture; the trends, latest technologies and stories from the field.