ICT making food safety advances possible - FAO

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/dolgachov
©iStock/dolgachov

Related tags: Agriculture

Advances in information and communication technology (ICT) are leading to improvements in food security and safety in Asia and the Pacific, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

From drones to smart phones, ICT is providing information on climate-smart technologies and practices and making technologies more affordable, accessible and applicable for even the poorest smallholder and family farmer, said the organization.

Following the launch of an E-Agriculture Strategy Guide, piloted in Asia-Pacific countries by FAO and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the two organizations created a forum to help countries develop their national e-agriculture.

E-agriculture strategies will help rationalize resources (financial and human) and address ICT opportunities and challenges for the agricultural sector while generating new revenue streams and improve the livelihoods of the rural community.

Samsung and the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences recently announced​ they are collaborating on a digital health platform that brings together the internet of things and sensor technologies with nutrition science.

Samsung said it will use its ARTIK internet of things (IoT) platform. Nestlé told our sister publication that it would give more details next year when pilot projects launch.

ICT having positive impact

The three-day event (29-31 August) in Bangkok attracted more than 100 participants from Asia and the Pacific.

“Clearly the application of ICT developments in the food and agriculture sector is having a positive impact and will continue to do so as technology continues to advance​,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, FAO assistant director-general and regional representative for Asia and the Pacific.

“The implementation of E-agriculture strategies will help us address challenges to our eco-systems while generating new revenues, improving the lives of people in rural communities and, ultimately, will help us achieve a food-secure world without hunger.”   

One example is QR codes on packages that help shoppers monitor the safety of food because it tracks products from farm to supermarket check-out. This system of traceability is being used by retailers in Thailand such as Tesco and Central.

Emmanuelle Bourgois, founder and CEO of, FairAgora Asia and VerifiK8, talked about a software platform to verify the seafood supply chain.

Bui Binh, CEO of TraceVerified, presented on an electronic traceability system in Vietnam.

Various sectors represented

Other private sector companies at the forum include Thailand’s CP Foods and TRUE Corporation, Intel, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Progis, Sourcetrace Systems, Olam and China Communication Services.

Satish Thampy, managing director (Thailand) of OLAM talked about building sustainable agriculture supply chains and Wu Yin, senior expert, China Communication Services International presented on implementation of IoTs in the agriculture industry in China.

Ioane Koroivuki, regional director of ITU’s regional office for Asia and the Pacific, said ICTs are driving across various sectors and contributing globally to socio-economic development.

“With ICTs in agriculture, this is no different and the transformative and innovative solutions that ICTs bring and will certainly enrich the exciting changes happening on the agricultural landscape.”

The forum will be followed by two days of training (1-2 September) on developing e-agriculture strategy.

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