A vast number of ICT solutions have emerged in recent years that support the agricultural value chain, including mobile applications. Because there are suddenly so many, a concerted effort needs to be made to monitor their impact. However, very little is being done to bring together the ongoing discussions, initiatives and investments aimed at improving the use of ICTs in agriculture, and this means that many of the stakeholders in the value chain are being excluded. This stream with 12 conference sessions aims to identify new and emerging ICT solutions and assess why they have great potential or why they are likely to fail.
The sessions in this stream will help address the ‘inclusive’ component of the conference theme, or the idea that no one will be left out of the value chain. The discussions on emerging innovations will be held in the context of their purpose to support stakeholders, not to isolate them. As a result, by the end of the conference, innovations in support of the entire range of beneficiaries – from agricultural researchers, input suppliers, agricultural extension officers and other intermediaries, to farmers, traders, processors, transporters of the goods, policy makers and consumers – will have been clearly identified. Donors, application developers, intermediaries, investors, and users can consequently fully promote these innovations and put them to effective use.
This stream will document some of the emerging ICT innovations for agriculture and how they are being used along the value chain. It will explore how apps are geographically distributed and what gaps need to be bridged. It will also discuss the need for holistic solutions versus specific mobile applications in different parts of the value chain. Some of the specific areas addressed in the sessions of this stream include ICT innovations that support challenges related to livestock, fisheries, climate change, access to financial services, market information, trade, agricultural data, and sustainable agricultural development.
David Rurangirwa is ICT and education specialist at USAID Rwanda.
Benjamin Kwasi Addom is ICT4D programme coordinator at CTA (Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation ACP-EU) in Wageningen, the Netherlands