Technology plays role in strengthening Asia's food safety and security

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags: Food and agriculture organization, Agriculture

Recent advances in information and communication technology have been leading to substantial improvements in agricultural production and food safety in Asia and the Pacific.

From drones to smart phones, such advances have provided information on climate-smart technologies and practices, and helped make devices more affordable and accessible for even the poorest smallholders and family farmers. 

This is according to an e-agriculture strategy guide, which the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has piloted in Asia-Pacific countries.

It found that technology is being applied to better assess food traceability, such as QR codes that have been helping shoppers to monitor the safety of their food by tracking products from farm to check-out. 

Such traceability systems are being used by major companies in Thailand, including retailers such as Tesco and manufacturers like CP. Other big names, including Intel, Tata Consultancy Services and Progis have also been involved in technology development. 

Among devices used to improve agricultural production are drones that can quickly map large areas of agricultural land with GIS technology, to help policy makers, producers and exporters predict the quality and quantity of a harvest in advance. 

These can also monitor the effects of climate change on large areas of arable land and their vulnerabilities to climate related disasters. 

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, the FAO’s 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​.”   

Ioane Koroivuki, the International Telecommunication Union’s regional director, said that technology has been cutting a swathe across a number of agriculture sectors and is contributing to global 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​,” he said. 

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