Asia–Pacific area’s vulnerability to COVID-19 pandemic hastens adoption of digital tech in agrifood methods

Agrifood methods within the Asia-Pacific area have been notably susceptible to shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic and different challenges, quickening the adoption of digital applied sciences, QU Dongyu, Director-Normal of the Meals and Agriculture Group of the United Nations (FAO) mentioned.

Qu was talking in a particular occasion entitled “Innovation, Science and Digitalization: Remodeling agrifood methods in Asia and the Pacific area” at FAO’s thirty sixth Asia Pacific Regional Convention. He mentioned the methods governing how our meals is produced, distributed and consumed have been “closely affected by shocks created by the pandemic and different challenges”, with the Asia-Pacific area “notably susceptible to those shocks.”

“This has pressured us to rethink our priorities and approaches, and has highlighted the significance of extra sustainable and resilient societies,” Qu mentioned, including that digital applied sciences are having a profound influence on our economies and societies and are remodeling agrifood markets. “This transformation has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he mentioned.

About 40 % of the Asia Pacific area’s inhabitants can’t afford a nutritious diet and in some areas the battle to realize the UN Sustainable Improvement Targets of defeating poverty (SDG 1) and starvation (SDG 2) has been set again.

Then again, there was growing motion in direction of innovation and digitalization alongside the complete agrifood worth chain. In retail grocery and meals procuring, 4 out of each 5 on-line meals and grocery purchases happen within the area.

In the meantime within the Small Island Growing States (SIDS) of the Pacific, a rising variety of entrepreneurs are creating concepts resembling smartphone apps, which assist producers and customers make knowledgeable, nutritious selections. And the leveraging of knowledge helps to enhance the availability chain of agricultural commodities to markets and to map areas susceptible to excessive climate occasions.

Additionally collaborating within the occasion have been ministers and senior officers from Sri Lanka, Vanuatu, Bangladesh and Mongolia. They highlighted a variety of key focus areas in innovation from bettering information seize and assortment, to linking up producers with markets, utilizing expertise to make agriculture a extra interesting occupation to the younger and the significance of public-private partnerships.

“Nobody measurement matches all,” in approaches to innovation, FAO’s Chief Scientist, Ismahane Elouafi, pressured. “A holistic method is required to rework agrifood methods, one which harnesses the potential of applied sciences and innovation,” she added.

Digital innovation unlocks potential

Qu mentioned digital innovation in agriculture holds the potential to unlock employment alternatives, bridge the agricultural divide and empower youth and girls to entry data, expertise and markets, serving to to:

  • facilitate entry to markets;
  • meet the rising demand for protected and nutritious meals by means of digital traceability;
  • higher handle pure assets;
  • contribute to top quality development in productiveness by means of digital instruments for extension;
  • guarantee inclusion.

Within the agrifood sector, the unfold of cellular applied sciences, remote-sensing companies and interlinked servers is already bettering smallholders’ entry to data, inputs and markets, growing manufacturing, streamlining provide chains and lowering operational prices.

Turning imaginative and prescient into concrete assist

FAO has launched various programmes and initiatives to show this imaginative and prescient into concrete assist and supply for its Members:

These embody FAO’s Digital Portfolio, main the holistic idea of a digital Group inside the UN system; the 1000 Digital Villages Initiative, which goals to transform villages into digital hubs to assist speed up rural transformation and scale back the digital hole, together with the gender and rural divide; the Hand-in-Hand Geospatial Platform, a digital public good to create interactive information maps, analyse tendencies and determine real-time gaps and alternatives so as to higher goal investments; FAO’s Worldwide Platform for Digital Meals and Agriculture, aiming to deliver collectively all stakeholders for a constructive dialogue on using digital applied sciences for agriculture.

As well as, Qu mentioned, FAO can also be contributing to the UN Secretary-Normal’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation by championing Digital Public Items.

Digitalization shall be supported by FAO’s first-ever thematic technique on Science and Innovation, which will even embody social, institutional, coverage and monetary spheres. The Technique is designed to spice up the group’s capability to present steerage on new and rising applied sciences, particularly to low and middle-income international locations, which face many challenges in accessing science and innovation. It is usually aimed toward making it simpler to deliver numerous actors collectively to collaborate in scaling up promising improvements.

Among the many points which the brand new thematic technique is anticipated to deal with are: strengthening the lab-to-land hyperlink and entry to applied sciences; reinforcing the science-policy interface to make sure the event of evidence-based methods; governance and regulatory points; inter- and trans-disciplinary analysis; and enhanced dialogue and communication on contentious scientific points, together with prevailing energy asymmetries and socioeconomic inequalities that have an effect on science and innovation.

FAO is uniquely positioned to assist its Members in strengthening nationwide coverage frameworks for enhanced science and innovation and figuring out analysis priorities and speaking them to the foremost analysis establishments

The group sums up its mission in remodeling agrifood methods, as working to realize higher manufacturing, higher diet, a greater surroundings, and a greater life for all, leaving nobody behind. 


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