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Overview of the EFITA 2017- 11th Conference on Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment

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EFITA is the European conference dedicated to the future use of ICT in the agri-food sector, bioresource and biomass sector. The 2017 conference, which is the 11th of the series is being held in Montpellier in France from the 2nd to the 6th of July 2017. According to the conference website, there are 200 participants that are expected from around 30 countries. This year's conference is held in collaboration with the World Congress on Computers in Agriculture (WCCA).

Program overview

The program is comprised of a number of sessions, keynotes speakers, workshops and panel session. The abstracts of the presentations can be viewed here , however, a selected topics and abstracts can be seen below,

Digital technologies and farm productivity: an example from livestock farms, by Ghali Mohamed & Ben Arfa Nejla

ABSTRACT. The increasing development of information and communication technologies (ICT) in agriculture has open the way for changes in the production and dissemination of knowledge. However, this knowledge economy is faced technic, social and economic stakes. From an economic perspective, digital development involves a transformation of farm’s business models and constitutes a source of value and competitiveness. This paper questions the interdependencies between the development of digital devices and the productivity gains in farms. A microeconomic methodology based on productivity analysis was used to compare economic performance of some dairy farms surveyed and economic performance of the average upper quarters of dairy farms in west of France. Results have permitted to identify relationship between digital technology and operations affected the dairy farms and have shown that in dairy farms, technology like milking robot system impact positively the milk production, labor organization, animal feedstuffs and the overall quality of herd management. However these impacts remain variable according to the nature of the used technology and to the farmer experience. Results shows also those farms equipped with digital tools are more productive when these tools are fully integrated as a part of a rather homogeneous system, since they are complementary in their action.

Open Data and Rural Communities, by Karel Charvat

ABSTRACT. Rural areas are of particular importance with respect to the agro-food sector and should be specifically addressed within this scope. Open datasets related to agriculture and rural regions, as well as data publication and data linking of external data sources contributed by different public and private stakeholders, allow to provide specific and high-value applications and services for the support in the planning and decision-making processes of different stakeholders groups, related to the agricultural, forestry, rural development and environmental domains. The presentation will focus on the definition, discovery, and utilization of Open Data in different rural applications.

Disseminating price information through mobile phone: are Malagasy farmers ready for it?, Norontsoa Andriandralambo and Hélène David-Benz
ABSTRACT. Improving agricultural markets in DC providing a better access to information is the main objective of Market Information Systems. Most MIS adopted mobile phones but their effective use by farmers remains marginal. What are the constraints of adoption? Based on surveys to recipients, we analyze the adequacy of the use of SMS to disseminate information to smallholder farmers. In Madagascar, two main MIS recently introduced the use of mobile phone. After a few months, feedbacks from the targeted producers were collected. Results show that mobile phone penetration is uneven (46 to 75% of households, depending on the areas) and only 10% farmers use it to market their products. Radio is used for entertainment. The level of understanding of the SMS ranks from 39% in the remote area to 86% around the capital. A large majority of farmers see these SMS as an improvement of their general knowledge; fewer declare that they will use them for them for marketing. More than half of them are willing to pay to receive these SMS. However, the main constraints are: (i) rapid “loss” of the recipients (change of number, loss of phone…), (ii) technical constraints (difficulties to recharge the battery, phone network coverage…).

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