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Perspectives for ICT and Agribusiness in ACP countries: Start-up financing, 3D printing and blockchain

ICT4Ag Outlook Expert Meeting, 9-11 October 2017, Rhenen, Netherlands

September 27, 2017

The workshop will discuss and identify key issues and avenues relating to improving access to capital and profitability for youth-led e-agriculture businesses and develop a better understanding of the relevant and perspectives of 3D Printing and blockchain technology for the ACP agricultural and rural development sector. 

Digital technology innovations are having an increasingly greater impact on the agricultural sector, and thereby, in many cases, improving the ease-of-doing-business. They have the potential for making profitable agricultural value chains, and improving production processes and exchanges for value chain actors and consumers. Over recent years, mobile phones have penetrated all value chain segments and are being adopted by all stakeholders involved in them including farmers. Apart from mobile phones, other digital technologies have emerged and are being adopted such as the use of drones in agriculture, while, long standing technologies such as remote sensed imagery and data via satellite are adopted in better ways as well. Understanding opportunities and challenges presented by new emerging digital technologies, as well as promoting their adoption, will contribute to the acceleration of productivity and profitability and employment creation in the agricultural sector and for youth. Entrepreneurship in this area is also emerging, developing the emerging market of agtech or e-agriculture business, and giving new opportunities to young entrepreneurs.

The workshop is organised by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, as part of its ICT for agriculture (ICT4Ag) and youth in agriculture activities. CTA has been targeting digital entrepreneurship led by young people[1] for its ICT4Ag activities, exemplified by the AgriHack Talent Programme, the new agricultural drone entrepreneurship initiative and other activities such the Plug and Play events. Youth is a priority area for CTA. The organisation has been promoting youth entrepreneurship in order to enable rejuvenation and development of the agricultural sector and to favour job opportunities for the youth. CTA has also been organising regular expert consultation workshops (at one time called ICT Observatory) to understand current trends and design strategies for the effective adoption of ICT innovations in agriculture for countries it covers in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific regions. This workshop falls within these frameworks.

The focus

The event will concentrate on two emerging issues and opportunities. Firstly, it will develop exchanges on how to ensure access to capital and profitability in the new market segment of ICT for agriculture business (also called agtech business or ICT4Ag business), particularly for start-ups owned by young entrepreneurs. Secondly, it will discuss the relevance, opportunities and challenges relating to two innovations which seem to have important implications for agricultural and economic development for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries; these innovations are the use of the blockchain technology and 3D printing in the agricultural sector. These innovations are neither understood, nor discussed in ACP countries. Entrepreneurial opportunities they offer will also be discussed at the event.

Outcomes of the meeting will inform implementation of CTA's future ICT for agriculture activities, notably the AgriHack Talent initiative. Partners interested in collaboration or engagement in these areas also have the opportunity to implement takeaways from the discussions.

Objectives of the workshop

The objective of the workshop is thus to examine strategies to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the blockchain and 3D Printing technologies in the agricultural sector, and for financing e-agriculture start-ups in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

The specific objectives are to:

  • Identify key issues and avenues relating to improving access to capital and profitability for ICT4Ag businesses owned by young entrepreneurs;
  • Develop a better understanding of the relevance and perspectives of 3D Printing and blockchain technologies for the ACP agricultural sector;
  • Develop recommendations which will favour the design of strategic actions to address issues discussed.

Participants

About 40 participants will take part in the workshop, coming from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries, European Union and beyond.

They will include:

  • e-Agriculture start-ups, notably operational in ACP countries
  • Ministries / public institutions in charge of agriculture or ICTs
  • Key international/regional agricultural development organisations
  • Financial organisations
  • Independent experts coming from related fields (blockchain, 3D Printing, etc.)

More information

For more information, please contact Ken Lohento, ICT4Ag Programme Coordinator at lohento@cta.int.

Follow online on Twitter via: CTA Twitter account, https://twitter.com/ict4ag_  https://twitter.com/agrihack and via the Twitter handle #ICT4AgOutlook.