Speaking at the launch of a two-day workshop entitled "Strengthening ICTs in Agricultural Value Chains - Towards increased integration in ICTs for growth and productivity", Michael Hailu, director, Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA) said, the use of ICTs creates "huge opportunities for farming communities and young people".
He encouraged innovation by calling on the region "to use innovative technologies to engage young people to agriculture and to address the challenges in the sector. This is an important element in strategy to safeguard the future of agriculture". Hailu added that, "It is important for the young people to get involved and develop solutions."
Hailu recommitted CTA to innovation in ICTs in the Caribbean. He referred to developmental applications in the Caribbean for the scaling-up of ICTs capacity that will be shared with the African, Pacific and Caribbean (ACP) countries.
He said, "It is important to demonstrate and develop applications and share them with the ACP for the way toward a food secured nation."
Guyana's minister of agriculture, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, reiterated that ICT is a "key to bringing youth to agriculture". He said farmers are "utilizing ICTs in their everyday activities ranging from weather forecasting, research and comparing agriculture techniques".
Dr Arlington Chesney, executive director of the Caribbean Agriculture and Research Development Institute (CARDI) said, "Technology is very important in the evolution of the sector."
Chesney said, "It is moving from one phase of being dependent on labour and land primarily to one that is dependent on information and technology."
The workshop is part of the agenda of 12th Caribbean Week of Agriculture, which is being held in Guyana under the theme "Linking the Caribbean for Regional Food and Nutrition Security and Rural Development".
The workshop aims to validate and examine the regional study of ICTs in agriculture value chains. A study was conducted in five countries: Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago over the past year.
It is a collaborative initiative between CARDI and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) commissioned to improve the productivity and sustainability of regional agricultural value chains through improving stakeholder capacities in communication and information sharing.