Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

10 Years of e-Agriculture Success and Learning

 The e-Agriculture 10-Year Review Reportpublished in 2015, remains relevant for those who are interested in learning about the evolution in this area of work over the past 10 years. 

A joint effort of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and partner organizations, the report focuses on the realizations of the e-Agriculture Community of Practice and partners over the past 10 years. The realizations are a joint effort of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and partner organizations in the agricultural sector. This report is a comprehensive resource on the topic of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in agriculture and rural development, not only covering achievements but also bringing together a large number of practical examples that have proven their effectiveness. Above all, this report enables practitioners to reflect on what has been done, learn lessons, identify challenges and upcoming trends, and plan how to use ICTs in our future work in more effective, sustainable and innovative ways.

The report brings together a list of challenges (p. 37) and corresponding recommendations (p. 39) that could be summarized by the following list of success factors.

Factors of Success

  1.   Provide adapted and reliable content from trusted sources.
  2.   Develop capacities at three levels: individual, organizational and enabling environment.
  3.   Mainstream gender and diversity.
  4.   Increase access and participation.
  5.   Engage in partnerships — especially public-private.
  6.   Identify the right mix of technologies.
  7.   Ensure economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Looking Forward

Successful ICTs for agriculture initiatives often complement existing infrastructure, are low-risk in terms of time and financial investments, are financially self-sustainable and are based on locally adapted content and context, preferably designed with the users. Although much has been accomplished, there is still room for improvement, such as improving the capacities of people and institutions, ensuring equal access, increasing resilience and empowerment, strengthening partnerships and encouraging active participation of the beneficiaries.

With fast changing technologies, e-agriculture is a domain that evolves quickly. New innovations are developed every day and are adopted in different parts of the world. This fast-changing environment makes it hard for all involved actors to keep up, as many stakeholders in agriculture are not ICT specialists. Whatever evolutions e-agriculture may bring, capacity development at all levels will remain key to a successful implementation of ICT for agriculture initiatives. Keeping in mind how knowledge-intensive agriculture is, we know that farmers and value chain actors need more precise information every day. Linking knowledge to innovation is crucial in addressing the information and knowledge gaps in the agricultural sector. 

Want to know more? Download the full publication here. Want to stay in the loop of information shared and activities organized by the e-Agriculture Community of Practice? Register here

Source: FAO. 2015. e-Agriculture 10-year Review Report: Implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Action Line C7. ICT Applications: e-agriculture, by Kristin Kolshus, Antonella Pastore, Sophie Treinen and Alice Van der Elstraeten. Rome, Italy, http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4605e.pdf 

For further questions, contact e-agriculture@fao.org.