28 September 2007 The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today launched a new interactive web-based site, underscoring the important role information and communication technology (ICT) can play in promoting agriculture and rural development.
Users can exchange experiences, opinions and good practices on the platform, www.e-agriculture.org, which was developed by the FAO and its partners.
The platform is part of the Community of Expertise – a global initiative to boost sustainable agricultural development and food security through increased use of ICT –that includes policymakers, rural service providers, development practitioners, farmers, researchers and ICT specialists.
“We are confident that the e-agriculture Community of Expertise will help facilitate further global discussions and decisions facing farmers, Governments and the international community at large related to the role that ICT can have in agriculture and rural development,” said the Director of FAO’s Knowledge Exchange and Capacity Building Division, Anton Mangstl.
More than 3,400 people from 135 countries participated in an online survey and in virtual forums to help develop the platform.
Although the digital divide is shrinking, only 18 per cent of the global population has access to the Internet. The UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that one billion people worldwide – most of whom depend in some way on agriculture for their livelihoods – still lack connection of any kind to ICT.