IDRC event calls for investment, inspiration and equity in the leveraging of ICT and data in agriculture

AGRF 2020

Although billed as a ‘side event’, the IDRC session on Monday 2 September covered a range of key subjects that will be central to the plenary sessions, roundtables and debates in the week ahead.

In a discussion on investment in digitization, panellists addressed the fact that grass-roots talent and agricultural fundamentals – such as planting, weeding and ploughing – must not be overlooked. Indeed, digital tools should be used to enhance rather than replace these fundamentals.

Investment in education was discussed as a prerequisite for digitization, with skills development laying the ground for the uptake of new technologies. Increased participation of women in agricultural research, particularly in Anglophone and Francophone countries, was another key topic, with a call to redefine gender roles to drive progress and future development.

Young people were also central to the debate, with panellists insisting that future generations needs to be inspired to engage with agriculture. To achieve this goal, the older generation needs to reframe perceptions of agriculture – from a chore to a protifable, cutting-edge undertaking.

And finally, it was asserted that research should be better integrated into development initiatives. Linkages between researchers and farmers, panellists noted, could also be strengthened to help solve key challenges.