Dubbed “ICT4AG: The Digital Springboard for Inclusive Agriculture,” the conference occured on the cusp of the momentum created by the Transform Africa Summit 2013 to offer participants the opportunity to discover innovative ways to use technology and create solutions for the agriculture sector.
Currently, ICT applications being used in Rwanda towards agriculture include applications like:
- the fertilize voucher system,
- AMIS (farmers’ website),
- mVISA, a mobile banking system, among others.
- The recent winner of the Rwanda ICT4AG National Hackathon, Fertilizer Logic, will soon become part of a group that is growing in the use of ICT for agriculture.
- The East African Commodity Exchange is another recently launched system whose aim is to provide regional and international markets for farmers within East Africa. The ICT NASDAQ-hosted platform will enable ease of electronic trading of commodities.
The main focus of the conference was for participants to actively come up with solutions that farmers can afford and are cost-effective to run. On the first day, there was a “Plug and Play Day” to showcase what has already been achieved within the agriculture sector using ICT applications.
The conference was a chance to interact and network with experts and discuss how to provide inexpensive and real solutions and on how media and multimedia can be a another effective and key tool in addition to ICT to provide information to farmers.
Day 1. The opening day. More people own a mobile phone than own a toothbrush, and in Africa the number with access to a mobile phone exceeds the number with access to clean water. Mobile phones and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the potential to transform the lives of hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers. This was one of the key messages to come out of the first day of the ICT4Ag conference in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Plug and play day saw over 300 people getting to know a range of Mobile apps and ICTs approaches in a marketplace of 20 sessions punctuated by a Vuvuzuela moving the audience on. The energy levels were clear from the sound rising in the room and the interactions of the audience. The morning started with a brief introductory session, with Didier Nkurikiyimfura, Director General of Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICTs (MYICT), acting as master of ceremonies.
Day 2. Video report.
Day 3. Video report.