Digital technologies key to accelerate agricultural development in Albania
- ICTs can offer unprecedented opportunities for accelerating agricultural development in the post-2020 development agenda.
FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development organized a virtual workshop on 25–26 November to foster the development of e-agriculture in Albania. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can offer unprecedented opportunities for accelerating agricultural development in the post-2020 development agenda.
The event aimed to raise awareness about the potential of digital technologies in Albania’s agriculture sector, where the adoption of new digital technologies for green economic growth along with social inclusion is a high priority for the government.
Albania is moving ahead with developing its digital agenda and, at the same time, the country is about the revise it agricultural strategy, creating a momentum for developing a digital agriculture strategy.
“A digital agriculture strategy should be inclusive, aligned with the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’,” said Sophie Treinen, FAO’s regional focal point for digital agriculture. “All actors in the agricultural sector should be able to access, afford, and use the appropriate digital technologies adapted to their needs. However, this will not happen without a coordinated approach involving each of them. This is why it is important to have a national framework for maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks.”
FAO and the International Telecommunication Union have developed guidelines to help define a national framework that can become a national strategy on digital agriculture.
“In the post-pandemic world, technology and information systems should become even more efficient, sustainable, affordable, and actionable. We invite all actors present at the workshop to co-develop the national digital agriculture strategy for Albania,” Treinen added.
Albania is in the process of joining the European Union and adoption of European policies on digital agenda is a priority. The event took place in the framework of the first steps for planning and developing a complex process for digitalization of agriculture.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the power of digital technologies in ensuring the continuation of professional and personal lives while respecting protection measures. The crisis also revealed digital disparities between social classes and geographical groups. To this end, FAO pays special attention to support smallholders and family farmers, rural communities, and youth.
The workshop not only fostered the dialogue among multiple actors, including farmers, producers, policy and decision-makers, private sector and technological solution developers, researchers, academia, advisory services, civil society, and youth, but also raised awareness on the policies and national framework required for the digital transformation of Albania’s agriculture. Altogether, over 50 people participated. The two-day workshop created a basis for collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy.
The term “e-agricutlure” was introduced by the United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society in 2003 and 2005, whose goal was to lay the foundations of a people-centric, inclusive, and development-oriented information society where everyone can create and share information. Since then, the concept has evolved and digital agriculture has become more common.