Digital technologies are key to the transformation of agriculture and food systems that is needed for global food security, poverty reduction and improved livelihoods. Digital technologies are already providing farmers with timely information about climate, market prices, crop disease and efficient farm management – and new technologies are rapidly being developed.
But the potential gains from digital technologies do not reach all farmers, and different kinds of technologies used differ among smallholders, markets and countries. Local infrastructure, connectivity and policy, as well as certain geographic and financial constraints, determine what technologies are accessible and feasible. Also the speed with which areas “go more digital” differs based on needs, policies and levels of investment.
To better understand the digital agricultural landscape at a global level – and to paint a data-driven picture of what technologies are in use, the benefits they are providing and where the greatest digital needs exist – the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture have teamed up with the World Bank and FAO to create Digital Agriculture Country Profiles (DAPs).
The profiles are designed to provide a state-of-the-art analysis of digital agriculture in a country, identifying not only ongoing initiatives, but also providing priority areas for new investment in digital agriculture innovation.
The project was launched in May, and a first expert workshop was held in Grenada, with the participation of 25 representatives from government, national research institutes, farmers’ associations, private sector representatives and NGOs.
Argentina, Grenada, Kenya, Turkey and Vietnam will be the first countries with profiles, which will be formally launched later this year.
DAPs will provide a comparable baseline of the state of digital technologies, providing clear indicators of levels of adoption, the incentives behind adoption, investments made in digital agriculture and the potential impact a certain technology can have in specific settings.
These profiles will also study the barriers to greater use of digital technologies and help guide policymakers, development agencies and potential investors. As an overarching goal, these profiles are being designed to raise awareness of the importance of financing investments and identify entry points for further research and development.