Maria Jose Cervantes Calderon
Created on October 22, 2019
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Virtual consultation: Digital Agriculture and Inclusion – Priorities for the agricultural research, development and innovation agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean
Digital technologies are not yet accessible to agricultural producers in general, the digital divide is still very large
PRIORITIES FOR THE AGENDA
Coverage, quality and access to ICTs
Development and promotion of digital technologies for agriculture
Capacities to take advantage of digital technologies
Extension and rural advisory services
Agricultura basada en datos
Integration and organizations
Currently, digital technology issues are being addressed, however it is done on a reduced scale
WHAT IS CURRENTLY BEING DONE?
Lack of training in the use of platforms and devices
Little coverage and quality of ICT
Problems in connectivity and electrical systems
High costs of equipment and services
Absense of public policies
Lack of information literacy and culture
Lack of integration between productive sectors
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Versión en español
Sensitize and involve the political class (at local, regional and national levels) to incorporate in their agendas the overcoming of limitations for the use of digital technologies for sustainable rural development.Generate State policies (not only agricultural or rural) to overcome cultural, educational, economic and social restrictions.Implement and improve public policies related to improving network connectivity in rural areas, training of producers and other actors related to the agricultural sector and facilitating and encouraging the implementation of digital agriculture in an inclusive manner.Generate, on the part of the public and private sectors, the conditions that allow the promotion and implementation of policies aimed at the activation and collective participation in digital agriculture and ICTs.
Analyze the potential to generate impact of Big Data in smart agriculture, involving the entire supply chain.In research processes, consider sensors and devices that provide unprecedented decision-making capabilities.Take into account the changes caused by digital agriculture in the roles and power relations between traditional and non-traditional actors.Address data governance, including its ownership, privacy issues and security.Adopt a new paradigm on scientific and technological innovation, in which the role of implicit knowledge of producers and rural stakeholders is valued.Develop joint actions between research institutions and agricultural producer organizations, with new forms of governance between the public and private actions.
Expand rural connectivity with more coverage to reach areas that do not yet have access. This includes improving the coverage, quality and price of mobile telephony, as well as access to broadband internet in rural areas.Work in an integrated way with other sectors (communication, health, education ...) to bring the available digital technologies to rural areas.Promote public-private investment to create satellite connectivity networks and infrastructure that covers rural territories.Take advantage of the penetration of smartphones in rural areas by promoting access to information, real-time data and mobile applications, among others. Promote and facilitate both the supply and the acquisition and use of high-tech equipment used in digital agriculture, including the provision of credits for this purpose.
Plan, implement, execute and monitor technology development processes based on iteration, for the achievement of profitable small businesses.Promote the creation and development of new digital tools and the digital transformation of the sector with public and private investment, through technological acceleration programs, project incubators, entrepreneurship development, competitions, hackathons and investment awards, among others.Work with producers to design programs that incorporate the specific knowledge that farmers have, along with the knowledge specific to scientists and technicians.Procure systems and digital platforms that are increasingly user-friendly, especially for rural users.Establish thorough testing of new technologies: Analyze the infrastructure requirements and determine who can capture direct economic benefits, so that they do not become another element of differentiation, displacement and exclusion.Define short-term plans, since technologies develop rapidly.Do not consider the increase in productivity as the only objective: Contemplate the use of digital technologies for agroecological production or in the development of alert systems based on the observations of young people and producers.Promote and encourage digital entrepreneurship.Development of rural projects that include all production stakeholders, and lead small producers to have a sustainable business model.
Some examples shared in the virtual consultation include:Inclusion of the topic in higher education plans.Meteorological, hydrological and market information services, early warnings of risks and disasters, among others, in support of the rural sector.Training of small producers in digital tools, such as precision agriculture, use of mobile applications, monitoring of market price information, weather forecasting, among others.Use of nano computers to register measurements or massive records using big data, to control pests and climatic phenomena.Use of the cloud to store and share information.Development of a “productive laboratory” in which records of all the activities, changes and results of the crops are kept, and digital tools are used for analysis and decision making.Planning, implementation, execution and monitoring of clusters of settlers / producers that simplify and enhance capacity building with a focus on digital transformation.Development of digital traceability platforms to provide transparency throughout the chain, such as the Integral Platform for Traceability and Sustainable Use of Fishery Products (Mexico).
Promote a general strategy of coordination and inter-institutional cooperation, which allows to achieve more objectives and with greater impact on the rural population.Develop greater capacity for articulation with synergies between agriculture and other sectors of science and technology, economy, trade and education.Adopt a holistic approach, where not only actors related to agriculture intervene, but also education, science, financing and the private sector.Consider the regional dimension in the fourth industrial revolution and its regulation, which implies sharing information regionally.Promote an institutional and organizational change, both of the institutional actors, as well as the social and economic actors of agricultural production and rural development.Foster the inclusion and structuring of small producers in cooperatives.
Close the technological gap by appropriating the producers in the management of the tools, considering the farmers' culture and conditions, through training and rural extension.Include in the education centers, both at technical and university levels, everything related to digital agriculture and ICTs.Strengthen the capacities of extension workers (at professional, technical and farmer levels).Develop technical and institutional capacities to provide the necessary answers in agricultural and rural research and extension systems, with adequate human and technological infrastructure.Give young people technical training in the use of appropriate technologies for the agricultural sector, in order to generate the change and digital transformation that could allow a much more productive and competitive agriculture, with better opportunities for young people to prevent their migration to cities.
Access of agricultural producers, particularly family farmers and most vulnerable groups, to digital technologies.The digital divide is still very large.Internet and telephone services do not cover all rural areas, the cost of equipment and connection is high and sometimes the quality is poor.Insufficient knowledge about the availabletools and how to take advantage of them by farmers, while the technical assistance they receive does not address these issues.The use and appropriation of technologies in the agricultural sector are very limited and restricted.There is a low level of education in computer science among those belonging to the agricultural sector, both in the case of medium and small producers and in technical field staff.Many authorities have not internalized and prioritized these new technologies as necessary for sustainable rural development.A considerable number of agricultural research organizations do not yet consider the issue on their agendas.However, there is a lot of potential for digital transformation in family farming to help increase the quality of their products, their productivity and their profitability.Digital agriculture is also important to help achieve food security in a changing climate and offers benefits for environmental sustainability, nutrition and livelihoods.Mobile phone penetration has increased information access and communication of rural people. Examples from Peru were cited about the possibility of communication with providers of insemination services and agricultural information services via mobile phones.
Develop tools that allow articulating the needs of producers with researchers and specialists.Locate and know the different regions, the local idiosyncrasy and the opportunities, when addressing technical assistance with new technological tools.Take advantage of these tools so that the extensionist becomes a facilitator and articulator between problems and solutions.Promote public-private investment to develop digital extension tools.Provide timely, digested and fast access information through digital tools.Consider that mechanisms and people are the most important and the tools should be to support them.Digital tools must be part of a national extension system, with research, developmentand promotion, and with good financing and equipment, in order to allow sustainable rural development.