Experts highlight the importance of applying digital solutions and big data to drive agriculture and empower smallholders in a post COVID-19 world

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) convened the Digital Agriculture Solutions Forum (DASF) for Asia and the Pacific 2020 from 30 November – 2 December 2020. During the forum, experts underscored the importance of innovative digital technologies in enhancing agricultural outputs, fueling improvements to food quality and safety, and boosting profitability in the foreseeable future. ‘Hunger, poverty and inequality are exacerbated by a widening digital divide. We can offset that by bringing digital innovations to smallholders and small-scale enterprises, those that offer a range of solutions to address agricultural challenges in areas of market access, pest management, agriculture-related disaster alerts, financial inclusion, traceability, food safety, and agricultural trade,’ noted FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific Jong-Jin Kim. For example, emerging technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), data platforms, distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), mobile applications, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and 5G offer solutions to the challenges facing agriculture and indeed rural economies in general.