The forum discussion on ICTs in Sustainable Crop Production Intensification (SCPI) of horticulture crop based systems ( mainly on fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers) was started on the 6th of March 2017.
The question for week 1 was:-
From your understanding and experiences, what is the role of ICTs in sustainable intensification of horticulture crop based systems for both the smallholder and commercial farmers.
Summary of participation
The majority of the participants concurred on the significant role of ICTs in the sustainable intensification of Horticulture crop-based systems basing on scientific and practical evidences.
Given were several roles which ICTs (tools, technologies and innovative practices) play in sustainably intensifying horticulture crop production.
Popular comments coming from the participants included the following:
- ICTs as, "enablers"' of Information exchange,
- dissemination,facilitating and easing horticultural extension services provision,
- and disease and pest control.
ICTs-allowing easy access to market data and facilitating producer-consumer linkages, enhancing and simplifying information transfer across the various actors involved in the horticulture production chain.
ICTs'' numerous ways of “producing more with less” in horticulture crop based systems, through rationalizing time spent in the field, lowering the supply of inputs to precisely match the contextual needs of the plant, increased traceability.
The following is an excerpt of the discussions, “The really encouraging thing is that technology will only get better and cheaper in future , so its time everybody started trying it out ,even if only in a very limited way to start with…’’ Dr P.S.Baker.
Participants also shared some challenges and problems associated with ICTs, many pointing out that, ICTs will not be a golden panacea to dozen of production and productivity related problems encountered by horticultural farmers worldwide. The issue of costs, accessibility, and infrastructure especially among the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in the developing world stills needs a lot of attention from policy makers and requires localized collective actions.
The week ended with some of the participants already giving success stories and examples of innovative practices and technologies already in use for the sustainable intensification of Horticulture crop based systems.
Selected snippets from some participants
Dr Wilfried Baudoin- Italy
Opened the discussion contextualising the overall roles of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in agriculture, to the specific roles of ICTs in horticulture crop-based systems, hence setting the tone for the discussion. Wilfried points out that, "ICTs play a very important role in the sustainable intensification of crop production (SCPI). However ,the knowledge , application and use of ICTs in Horticulture crop based system is limited and less understood necessitating the need of such a global discussion on the roles of ICTs in SCPI -with a specific focus on Horticulture systems( fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers) " Read the contributions
Gynne Foster –South Africa Gynne
From a theoretical point of view and Gynne points out that, the recording of data will increasingly be automated by the usage of smart devices. Further highlighting the need to keep in mind the uniqueness of every farm and the risk of widening the tech gap...with the smallholder farmers in mind , of which most of them are the horticultural farmers. Read the contributions
Haris Moysiadis – Greece
Haris shares, experiences accrued from the piloted Internet of Things ( IoT) technologies in smart agriculture, advantages of using ICT technologies in sustainable intensification. Haris invites members to discuss specific technologies in use for intensifying production along the whole value chain. Read the contributions
Albert Fosso – Namibia
Albert offers some of the practical cases where ICTs have been used in intensifying productivity. Read the contributions
Alan Goodrich –Zimbabwe
Alan brings in a very interesting point into the discussion, SCPI and finance and the challenges being encountered by mainly the smallholder farmers in the developing world. Further highlighting the issue of trust /mistrust among the actors involved in the horticulture production chain. Read the contributions