Singapore – In a time where digital transformation is driving change in all areas, agriculture is no exception. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased food insecurity globally, given the disruptions in our supply chains. There are many tools and technologies that can help farmers in developing countries adopt more efficient and sustainable production methods, reduce the burden of labour-intensive tasks, and manage their farms better to help build a more resilient, sustainable and productive food system.
The UNDP Global Centre in Singapore, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), recently co-hosted the first virtual Digital Innovation Dialogue on Youth Digital Innovation Solutions for Food and Agriculture. The session showcased innovative technologies and business models from entrepreneurs that are solving agricultural challenges around the world, and sought to inspire FAO offices to look at how youth can drive digital transformation for agriculture.
“Youth have a tremendous potential to use digital technologies for food and agriculture, as the solutions showcased in this session show the exciting models possible that are poised to solve the problems identified within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework,” said
Bradley Busetto, UNDP's director of Global Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Sustainable Development. Busetto highlighted this collaboration as an example of a one-UN approach needed to solve the developmental challenge.
As part of the Global Centre’s agricultural innovation initiative, Cultiv@te, UNDP is working with 31 promising agritech startups and R&Ds to work on implementing their solutions in 11 countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America. UNDP invited six of these teams with strong youth engagement to pitch their solutions for this dialogue, together with the winners of the FAO innovation challenge. These solutions included technologies for smart farming, food loss and waste, decentralized agricultural machinery networks, urban farming and more.
While this session was focused on youth, the UNDP and FAO will continue to work together in finding technologies and digital solutions for food and agriculture that can help developing countries accelerate towards sustainable development.