According to the report, the conference which brought together stakeholders from the private sector, governments, civil society, entrepreneurs and research institutes from both the technology and agricultural sectors to showcase the developments and possibilities in the field, was a key milestone in promoting the application of ICTs in the agricultural sector.
It concluded that the conference advocated for ICTs to be used as effective drivers of agricultural growth and transformation, as well as having the potential to improve the lives of smallholder farmers in developing countries.
Below are the key recommendations of the APPG report which agree with the policy pointers of the ICT4Ag Conference to be released in few weeks:
1. Recognise that for rural communities and smallholder farmers to benefit from ICTs in agriculture, rural infrastructure development must be incentivised.
2. Prioritise effective evaluation of the impact of ICTs and strengthen the evidence base. A database cataloguing successes and failures should be developed to help with learning and avoid repeating unsuccessful practices.
3. Harness the potential to combine delivery channels, including face-to-face interaction, to reach an even wider audience.
4. Promote user-driven services and supporting government policies. Addressing women’s time and financial constraints to access the technology and act upon the services, should be given the highest priority.
5. Harness the potential to combine multiple delivery channels to reach disadvantaged populations.
6. Explore ways to enhance informal farmer- to-farmer mobile supported discussion for co-creation of knowledge and increased behavioural change.
7. Ensure that ICTs are linked to existing extension services, including government-run programs. Engaging national governments in ICT4Agriculture programmes to promote a sense of ownership and to facilitate the development and approval of supporting policies.
8. Ensure that the content of extension messages disseminated via ICTs is based on sound and appropriate science in an open and transparent manner.
9. Promote sustainable and innovative business models, ensuring that revenue models cover real costs.
CTA has been at the forefront of promoting the use of ICTs in agricultural value chain development, extension and advisory services, and agriculture and rural development policy processes.
To learn more about CTA and its activities in the area of ICT for agriculture, please visit: http://cta.int/en/article/2013-11-14/policies-markets-and-icts-pmi.html