During the third and last week of the online discussion forum, the members of the e-Agriculture community of practice discussed the specific constraints they have faced when using ICTs in horticulture. Based on the constraints, several recommendations for decision makers were brought forward.
Overview of the participants comments
Among the hard constraints users pointed to the lack of proper infrastructure in general. Access to electricity, mobile networks and Internet connection remain a fundamental problem in rural areas. Horticulture producers are also confronted with the high cost of electricity, Internet and ICT equipment, limiting their possibilities to work with new technologies.
Among the soft constraints there is a lack of capacity development among the farmers on the use of ICT tools and applications. ICT tools are often complex and quickly changing, which makes it hard for farmers to keep up. Other soft constraints brought forward during the discussion were: illiteracy, lack of awareness, lack of trust and lack of adapted or tailored ICT tools and applications.
Last but not least there is also a need for an enabling environment as explained by Haris Moysiadis: “As technology progresses neither money nor complexity won't be the problem. Business/ technical continuity and (micro/ macro) environment's support will, however.”
Based on the challenges faced during the different experiences of using ICTs in horticulture, participants brought forward the following recommendations for decision makers:
- Incentivizing the adoption of ICTs at the farm level through grants, facilitating access to credit and tax incentives.
- Sponsoring capacity building programs for both farmers and rural advisory service providers.
- Ensuring proper infrastructure in rural areas and promoting the use of renewable sources of energy such as solar power.
- Coordinating efforts to increase availability and openness of data and information and making it interoperable
The forum pages remain open until Friday the 31st of March for your contributions and comments. You are welcome to submit your contributions to this discussion.