02 September 2009

Key messages from WITFOR Agriculture Commission

The August 2009 'World Information Technology Forum' (WITFOR) was held in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Key messages from the agriculture commission sessions chaired by Kevin Painting and Pham Anh Tuan) were:
  1. In this complex, multi-disciplinary but interlinked area there is a great potential of (and demand for) IT applications and solutions to address pressing issues of information and communications management in support of agricultural and rural development.
  2. These are complex situations which require detailed analysis and thoughfully tailored approaches, not off the shelf and “technology first” approaches.
  3. For successful outcomes, it is necessary to take a bottom up approach by taking into account the local realities such as poor infrastructure, education, limited literacy, languages and technical competence.
  4. There are many challenges in communicating the benefits of research, both to farmers (e.g. via extension services) and to policy makers (e.g. via sensitisation processes).
  5. While the private sector has an indispensable role in developing services, there is a strong role of governments to support and promote ICT services.

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