|Using information and communication technology (ICT) to strengthen youth opportunities in agriculture|
|Wednesday, 30 May 2012 10:21|
A consultative workshop for youths between the ages of 18 and 35 entitled Using ICT to strengthen youth opportunities in agriculture and rural areas was held in Johannesburg on 20 May. In partnership with SPC Land Resources Division and other ACP partner organisations, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) brought together about 30 youths, including young bloggers from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States who were winners and runner-ups of YoBloCo — the Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition.
SPC is challenged with the task of ensuring that youths are well represented in global issues such as food security, agriculture and forestry, and climate change. The role of ICT has become an important tool in all these areas, so it has become imperative to acquire ICT knowledge and skills as a means of meeting current development goals.
Mr Ken Lohento, CTA ARDYIS Coordinator, said, ‘Empowering youths through the use of ICTs, new social media and web 2.0 tools can help develop their skills and capacity to adequately address their needs and strengthen their opportunities in agriculture. The role of the CTA-ARDYIS project is to identify collaboration opportunities with ACP partner organisations to address issues relating to youth involvement in ICT and agriculture.’
Ms Anju Mangal, as the CTA-SPC youth advisory committee member, said that engaging youths in agriculture using ICT is a challenge, but through CTA ARDYIS activities and efforts of partner organisations such as SPC’s Land Resources Division, there has been a significant increase in the number of youths interested in learning about the agriculture sector. CTA has facilitated training programmes on the use of ICT tools, such as the social media, web 2.0 tools, geographical information systems (GIS), and mobile applications for agriculture, and these programmes have aroused much interest.
It will take a while for ACP countries to benefit from the new ICT, and for people to embrace new tools and apply them to their areas of interest, but this should not stop people from exploring innovative ways to use ICT in agriculture.
The workshop was a pre-event to the 2012 Conference of the African Chapter of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD), which was held on 21–23 May.