The ICT4Ag conference held in Rwanda in November 2013 was unique in that it brought together a highly representative body of delegates from the ICT and agricultural sectors. Its success will be measured by the action taken by delegates after the conference based on a clear list of action points for the community.
The CTA-sponsored ICT4ag conference held on 48 November 2013 in Kigali, Rwanda had several objectives, but the conference heading the digital springboard for inclusive agriculture succinctly summarises the main objective. At this conference, a range of ICT innovations would present new opportunities available to all groups in the agricultural sector in ACP countries and beyond. In that respect, the conference was an great success as more than 500 delegates from 63 countries attended who, as director of CTA, Michael Hailu remarked, often dont come together in the same forum.
These main findings from the streams have been merged into action points as a vision for collaboration among partners in the future (full details available on the ICT4Ag website). They illustrate the complexity of ICT4Ag issues and also give a flavour of the discussions and dialogues that took place during the sessions.
Some of these key statements from the enabling environment stream include: involve all stakeholders, bridge illiteracy, focus on farmers and farmer organisations, develop sustainable extension services, ensure access to ICTs in rural areas as well, standardise platforms for sharing data, provide valid and understandable data and empower farmers through financial education.
Key statements from the capacity strengthening stream include: involve developers from the beginning, involve women in decision making and capacity building, focus on the household as a central unit, encourage local participation across the board, enable locals with better ICT knowledge, and facilitate information and knowledge sharing.
And from the emerging innovations stream, emphasize real-time data via multiple channels, use trusted organisations to lead information sharing effort, create a public information platform to reduce data duplication, develop apps to support value-chain operators, take local context into account when designing apps, provide security with innovations to create trust, emphasise importance of data visualisation, develop diversified business models and provide them in local languages.