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Harnessing ICT strategies for ACP agriculture: ICT Update issue 73

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The 2003 and 2005 World Summits on the Information Society called for the development of ICT strategies for all sectors. But more is needed required to formulate effective e-agriculture strategies in ACP countries. The World Summits on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva in 2003 and Tunis 2005 aimed to bridge the global digital divide by expanding access to ICTs in developing countries. Agriculture was less of a focus than health and education during these events, but a call to develop ICT strategies for all sectors, including agriculture, was issued at these summits.  

Slow adoption of e-agriculture strategies 

Whereas other sectors feature prominently in most ACP countries’ national e-strategies, agriculture is conspicuous by its absence in these policy documents. In its 2010 report National e-strategies for Development: Global Status and Perspectives, the International Telecommunication Union noted that hardly any developing countries had developed and adopted a national e-agriculture strategy, while in contrast ‘many e-government, e-business, e-learning and e-health strategies are in place’. In fact, in 2012 only four countries (Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso) were reported to have formally prepared e-agriculture-related strategies (according to desk research undertaken by CTA in preparation for its ICT Observatory meeting held in April 2013). 

 Authors: 

Ken Lohento ( lohento@cta.int) is ICT4D programme coordinator at CTA. He has worked in various capacities on ICT uses and policies for development for the past 15 years, with various national, regional and international organisations. His work at CTA is mainly on projects related to e-agriculture strategies, youth and ICTs, and web 2.0. 

Harsha Liyanage ( smilingharsha@gmail.com) has been an activist and consultant in ICT4D for over 18 years, as the managing director of Sarvodaya-Fusion, Sri Lanka, and director of eNovation4D Ltd, UK. He is also an international advisor to the Global Knowledge Partnership. He has been an invited speaker at many global conferences including the World Summit of Information Society.