Second Meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture of Central Asia
08 December 2020
- Second meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture of Central Asia was held in virtual format to discuss the challenges and opportunities of digital agriculture. The meeting was facilitated by FAO and Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan and attended by UN agencies and representatives of international financial institutions.
This meeting aimed to help FAO member states in Central Asia achieve a shared understanding of the scope of the term “digital agriculture” and of the requirements for developing and implementing a digital agriculture strategy to transform agriculture. An additional objective was to identify potential areas where innovative applications of digital technologies can be implemented over the short-term.
In his speech, Jamshid Khodjaev, the Minister of Agriculture of Uzbekistan noted that the Ministry of Agriculture is working to create an integrated information system to raise the overall level of digitalization and focuses on supporting initiatives of agricultural and food products producers to introduce smart technologies.
“Our task as the official regulator of the agricultural sector is to prepare business entities for this inevitable transition to digital format. One of the most important tasks is the creation of agrological centers and regional network for the dissemination of agricultural knowledge, which will be combined into a common complex through information technologies,” said Jamshid Khodjaev.
The Minister of Agriculture of Uzbekistan has also expressed his gratitude to the entire FAO team for developing the concept for the creation of the International Digital Council for Food and Agriculture. According to the Minister, in order to have the maximum effect, this council should focus its work on making modern digital technologies widely available to developing countries and low-income farmers.
The COVID-19 crisis has shown that governments and the private sector have the ability to rapidly scale up existing technologies and implement policies and frameworks to find solutions to the crisis. Digital solutions such as mobile money and e-payments, e-commerce and ICT-enabled information and advisory services can enhance the resilience of the agri-food system and the provision of vital support services to farmers.
“Over the next 20 years, agriculture will actively embrace information technology in a sustainable manner. Agriculture, supported by digital technologies, can become not only the driver of economic recovery, but also of change in its quality, especially for smallholders and rural households. Today's meeting is the second such event with the participation of agricultural leaders of Central Asia, and FAO is proud to be the facilitator of both of these meetings. We see these as a very important dialogue that will be shaping a dynamic future for agriculture in Central Asia,” Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative concluded.
The virtual meeting provided a platform for participating countries to share their approaches and experience, reaffirm their commitment to digital agriculture despite the difficult circumstances and create the basis for long-term joint projects.