ICT for Agriculture conference highlights IT impact in farming

In Rwanda, Agriculture is the main employer, employing more than 80 percent of the population. The sector is of similar importance across many African countries, been the main or among the main employers. Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Executive Director, Michael Hailu, says the sector has suffered from years of neglect from investors, but now this is no longer the case.

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The attention from investors coupled with increased access to ICT across the region is now seeing the emergence of technology based solutions attempting to solve problems that have plagued the sector for years.

The ICT for Agriculture conference that started this morning at the Serena in Kigali brings together a number of stakeholders in the agriculture sector, who will present and share on the use of ICT solutions in Agriculture and the benefits. The conference is organised by CTA.

Among solutions being presented include a number of solutions looking at bridging the information gap for farmers across Africa and beyond. Most farmers usually have little access to information regarding production of their crops and animals, which results in low produce through inefficiencies such as output losses.

These applications provide information regarding production of particular produce, including how the farmers can increase yield and how to store the same.

Other applications are solving the market problem, where farmers usually end up with low demand of their produce, leading to low prices. Farmers are also commonly exploited by middlemen,  who offer them low prices before re-selling the produce to buyers at a substantial markup.

Commenting on the use of ICT in Agriculture,  Rosemary Mbabazi,  Permanent Secretary in Rwanda’s Ministry of ICT and Youth said that the government of Rwanda was also looking at the application of ICT largely impacting all sectors including Agriculture. As part of Vision 2020,  the government of Rwanda is looking at using ICT to increase access to information,  especially for the people in rural areas. The government is also looking at use of ICT for service provision through a number of e-government services.

Permanent Secretary in Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture said ICT would make a big impact in Agriculture through increased production and access to market information.


Source: www.cio.co.ke
Published on November 04, 2013 by Dennis Mbuvi