Harnessing the Power of Information and Communication Technology to Address Food Systems Challenges
With the growing availability of mobile phones, computers, and Internet connections in the developing world, there are new opportunities to apply these technologies to improve foods systems in developing countries. Careful investigation of the access to and use of ICT-based tools in food production and distribution is needed to better understand the barriers to their use and to inform the development of petential innovations that can enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the food system value chain. ICT4D activities cut across all aspects of the GCFSI. In the first year, the ICT4D team will focus on two main sets of activities:
Investigating the role of ICTs in agriculture and food systems. Specific activities related to this work involve bringing together available secondary data and future projections on the use of ICT in developing country food systems, including comparisons across countries of ICT availability indicators from the International Telecommunication Union, World Bank, and other data sources. Key indicators include computer, Internet, and mobile device penetration, access, and use. Additionally, we plan to investigate, through literature review and case analysis, promising food system-relevant applications of ICTs in developing countries, including farmer-targeted information systems, market information systems, supply chain information systems, and other forms of electronic commerce that can enhance efficiencies, improve quality and food safety, and increase smallholder farmers and micro-enterprise connections within the food system, especially among smallholder farmers and micro-enterprises as well as users of online services and social media among food system participants in developing regions to enhance knowledge sharing and build social capital will also be examined.
Establish a communication strategy for GCFSI. The ICT4D team will help GCFSI establish a strategy for use of ICTs for Center activities that can accommodate partners in developing regions. This involves helping the Center select and make productive use of various ICT tools in order to collaborate with each other and our partners, engage with students and our external stakeholders, and disseminate work of the Center.
Years of applying information technology approaches to poverty reduction has created the ICT for Development (ICT4D). New communication tools such as mobile phones and the Internet are used as complement to other development activities by providing access to information, services, markets, and educational opportunities to improve food systems in developing countries.
The interactive map below presents the users distribution for technologies such as mobile cell phones, telephones, and Internet.