Month: November 2013

Put youth at the center!

Kalu Samuel's Blog

Joseph Macharia moderating the involving youth in Agriculture with ICTs at the ICT4Ag conference

Joseph Macharia moderating the involving youth in Agriculture with ICTs at the ICT4Ag conference

Several points have been highlighted at the ICT4Ag conference about the need to build sustainable and scalable solutions for small holder farmers, however the fact remains that if the youth are not active in various agriculture value chains there will be a serious problem in the future. The average age of farmers in most African countries is between 55 – 60 years. The big question is, how many of the current people in Agriculture now will be in the farming business in the next 15 – 20 years. Will they easily adapt to changing technology as new ICT solutions tries to meet their needs?

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Hand in Hand: ICTs and ARD


Reblogged from ICT4Ag Blog

In the Caribbean region, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is prevalent with mobile penetration at a particularly high level. Access to computers, smart phones, tablets and other ICTs is needed in every industry, with the easiest access found in the business, education, tourism, commerce and energy industries. However, with respect to the agricultural sector, ICT support varies considerably across the islands.

Some countries, such as Jamaica make heavy use of ICTs and social media in their various agricultural authorities such as the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). Conversely in several other islands, ministerial facilities and divisions are on occasions under-resourced and lack appropriate technologies which could improve service and efficiency.

Regardless, there are several examples that can be found, whereby business and research divisions source the necessary equipments to facilitate their needs, particularly along the agri-food value chain.

At the University of the West Indies…

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Sustainable Food Systems

One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

ID-100143900Food demand is expected to rise by 70% to 2050. Urbanisation and increasing incomes per capita are shifting diets to those more demanding of meat and other animal products, which has serious implications for the use of natural resources to produce food. Today around 1 in 8 people are malnourished and 870 million people chronically hungry, indicating our current food systems cannot meet present demand let alone future. Modifying the world’s food production systems to produce more food and perhaps distribute it more evenly, is made harder by a growing recognition of the negative impacts agriculture can have on the environment. Conversion of land to agriculture is the biggest threat to biodiversity. Agriculture places large demands on scarce natural resources, the overuse of which not only threatens the wider global environment and human wellbeing, but the very processes agriculture relies on e.g. pest control, pollination and rainfall.

A new report…

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Incorporating ecosystem service values in agricultural planning

One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

ID-1006603Ecosystem services, “the benefits that people derive from nature” (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005), are rarely taken into account in the valuation of agricultural commodities, despite the impacts (both positive and negative) agriculture can have on such services, for example the provision of food and nutrition, climate regulation, water quality and soil fertility. Ecosystem services themselves can increase agricultural productivity and resilience. For example in Costa Rican coffee plantations, birds such as the yellow warbler, can reduce infestations of the coffee borer beetle by around half.

Research on ecosystem services has increased exponentially, from Gretchen Daily’s book, Nature’s Services in 1997, to the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment in 2005 and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) in 2010. Andrew Balmford and colleagues in 2002 investigated the economic implications for conserving wild land versus converting it to agriculture by including economic values for ecosystem services, finding a benefit-cost ratio of 100:1…

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