Unleashing agricultural transformation: Jordan’s Digital Solutions Forum 2023

Experts participating in the forum emphasised the urgent need for digital technologies to revive the agricultural sector, which has suffered a significant 20% decline in its contribution to the national GDP due to the adverse impacts of climate change and extreme weather conditions.

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The Digital Agricultural Solutions Forum 2023 has commenced its three-day event with a focus on examining long-term tools for digital agricultural transformation. During the inauguration, experts highlighted the need for digital technologies to revitalise the agricultural sector, which has experienced a nearly 20% decline in its contribution to the national GDP due to extreme weather conditions and climate change. 

While internet accessibility in the Arab world is estimated at 70%, digital literacy remains a barrier to implementing digital agriculture solutions. Experts recommended promoting digital literacy programs for farmers, expanding internet access across different societal backgrounds, improving internet infrastructure in agricultural areas, establishing an agriculture database, and utilising AI tools and technologies. 

Princess Basma underscored the potential of digital agriculture to enhance the resilience and livelihoods of smallholder farmers and noted the crucial role of effective partnerships and incentives for sustaining an inclusive digital ecosystem. AbdulHakim Elwaer, FAO assistant director general for the Near East and North Africa, stressed the need for national digital agriculture solutions to benefit the agricultural community and ensure food security. 

Experts highlighted the limited land and water resources in the NENA region, along with projections of increased drought and extreme events, necessitating a transformative approach to support productive, sustainable, efficient, and inclusive agriculture systems. Adel Darwish, director of the regional office for the Arab states at ITU, emphasized the importance of a unified government approach for sustainable and impactful digital agriculture. 

Minister of Agriculture Khalid Hneifat announced the establishment of six IT training centers and the development of a comprehensive database for assessing and predicting agricultural risks as part of the ministry’s digital transformation efforts.