The information and communication technologies for agriculture (ICT4Ag) programme at CTA is based on the principle that ICTs are crucial tools to improve how any given sector functions. Although using ICTs in agriculture is not new; CTA is convinced these tools are here to stay and have huge potential for transforming agriculture in developing countries.
CTA promotes applying ICTs to develop agricultural value chains, and agriculture and rural development policy and strategy processes. We use ICTs as a tool to fulfill CTA’s mission of advancing food and nutritional security in ACP countries. ICTs are used to champion practical, cost-effective, sustainable, and scalable agricultural solutions that impact lives in remote regions of the world. CTA keeps its stakeholders – policy makers, extension service providers, agricultural researchers, farmers and farmer organisations up-to-date on emerging ICT innovations. We support them to identify viable ICT solutions to address their agricultural challenges; we facilitate the co-creation of new ICT4Ag applications based on our stakeholder needs; we strengthen their capacities to use developed solutions; and we provide platforms for discussions with policymakers.
CTA is a pioneer and thought leader in ICT4Ag. It has the expertise and experience to create necessary changes in the agricultural sector through using ICTs. CTA continues act upon the recommendations from the 2013 ICT4Ag international conference to make it happen.
As an honest knowledge broker, CTA is determined to
- collaborate with the private sector to make ICT4Ag Value Added Service (VAS) provision more sustainable;
- continue to engage with policymakers in creating enabling environments for ICT applications to thrive;
- support farmers and farmer organisations to go beyond consumers and become service providers to their members;
- partner with other international development organisations working this area to avoid duplication and have greater impact;
- engage investors in exploring the potential for investing in the sector; and
- work with researchers to show ICTs impact in the agricultural sector.
Even though the concept of ICT4Ag at CTA came to the forefront in 2013, its history spans over 30 years since the organisation came into existence. CTA’s first known ICT activity started in 1985 through its Question and Answer Service (QAS) that enabled famers’ requests to be recorded and submitted online. Following that, CTA pioneered the Web2forDev Conference that has led to training of over 5000 people in ACP countries in the use of Web 2.0 and social media tools for agriculture and rural development. The turning point, however, was in 2013 when CTA led the global community to deliberate on new and innovative approaches to the generation and use of ICTs in agriculture through the ICT4Ag International Conference: The Digital Springboard for Inclusive Agriculture.