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Expectation of upcoming ICT4AG Conference

Kigali, Minagri News, 4 nov 2013

November 1, 2013

The ICT4AG Conference, co-hosted by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the Ministry of Agriculture & Animal Resources (MINAGRI), and the Ministry of Youth & ICT (MYICT), will take place in Kigali from November 4th to 8th. Over 400 delegates from around Africa, the Caribbean, Pacific, and beyond will gather to discuss advance in ICT for agriculture.

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Dubbed ICT4AG: The Digital Springboard for Inclusive Agriculture, the conference occurs on the cusp of the momentum created by the Transform Africa Summit 2013 to offer participants the opportunity to discover innovative ways to use technology and create solutions for the agriculture sector.

The conference will be an opportunity to learn new practices and how ICT can be used to boost agriculture. But also, it is an occasion to encourage young people to take advantage of this agriculture sector and the use of ICT, said Minister Kalibata when asked what the ICT4AG Conference will bring to Rwanda.

Venturing into ICT and encouraging the youth to participate will create jobs through delivering services to farmers, and open the job market even further for the region. It is also an opportunity for the private sector to generate income just by engaging in ICT.

Currently, ICT applications being used here in Rwanda towards agriculture include applications like e-Soko, the fertilize voucher system, AMIS (farmers website), mVISA, a mobile banking system, among others. The recent winner of the Rwanda ICT4AG National Hackathon, Fertilizer Logic, will soon become part of a group that is growing in the use of ICT for agriculture.

The East African Commodity Exchange is another recently launched system whose aim is to provide regional and international markets for farmers within East Africa. The ICT NASDAQ-hosted platform will enable ease of electronic trading of commodities.

The main focus of the conference will for participants to actively come up with solutions that farmers can afford and are cost-effective to run. On the first day, there will be a Plug and Play Day to showcase what has already been achieved within the agriculture sector using ICT applications.

Stephane Gambier, Senior Programme Coordinator Communication of CTA, said that the conference will be a chance to interact and network with experts and discuss how to provide inexpensive and real solutions.

He also mentioned that the ICT4AG Conference will focus on how media and multimedia can be a another effective and key toolin addition to ICT toprovide information to farmers.