In many ACP countries, agriculture accounts for upwards of 50% of gross national product, and in some more than 60% of the population is engaged in agriculture. Notwithstanding the significant impact that the sector has on developing economies and society, there is still a greater need to equip the various actors within the agricultural sector with the tools which they need to develop modern and “best practice” strategies, plans, projects and methods which can allow the sector to meet the growing demands being placed on it by modernization and development.
How ICTs can help the agricultural sector in the Caribbean
Despite the general lack of understanding of the role that ICTs can play within the industry, these can be a key driver and facilitator in connecting the actors along agricultural value chains and in disseminating critical information to large populations on the need to sustainably secure the Region’s food and nutrition requirements.
On October 12, 2012, a one day workshop hosted by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), brought together expert ICT and agriculture representatives from the CARICOM region. These experts explored the possibilities of a Caribbean e-Agriculture Strategy which will synergise agriculture and ICT in a more structured manner. This strategy will recognise the real and current challenges leading to low ICT uptake in the agriculture sector, and will seek to address these challenges to the benefit to all Regional agri-stakeholders.
Some existing initiatives across the Caribbean:
- National Agricultural Market Information System (NAMIS)- Trinidad & Tobago
- Jamaica Agricultural Marketing Information System (JAMIS)
- Market & Enterprise Information System (Guyana Marketing Corporation)
- mFisheries Application Suite