BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, November 22, 2023 (SKNIS) – Farmers, food producers, administrators and other stakeholders linked to the agricultural sector took part in an open and interactive national consultation on Digital Agriculture Solutions (DAS) today, Wednesday, November 22, 2023.

TheDigital Agriculture Solutions project, a collaborative effort between the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), aims to foster the use of intelligent technologies in farming. By providing farmers with timely and crucial insights, the project is designed to assist them in implementing best practices and managing their farms more effectively. The adoption of these smart technologies is expected to substantially decrease losses and simultaneously enhance profitability in the agricultural sector.

Acting Director of Agriculture Ms. Jeanelle Kelly delivered remarks at the opening ceremony for the national stakeholders consultation at the Department of Agriculture Conference Room. She stated that digital technologies help to speed improvements in food systems while reducing environmental impacts.

“By adopting digital agriculture technologies, smallholder farmers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) can get ready access to data, expertise, finance, inputs and other resources to increase productivity, quality, business management practices, income and resilience,” she said. “We must therefore, adopt affordable, sustainable and integrated digital solutions that improve agricultural efficiency and tackle complex food and market system challenges to help meet the world’s growing demand for food.”

Director Kelly noted that these digital solutions for St. Kitts and Nevis must include extension and advisory services that offer farmers technical advice on good agricultural practices.

Ms. Kelly further highlighted the significance of traceability in food production, noting that the project includes technologies designed to track the origin, processing, movement, and sale of agricultural products. These technologies support food safety, legal compliance, product quality, and the creation of more transparent supply chains.

“Of course, also included would be finance and mobile money, that is, mobile applications or online platforms for farmers and agri-businesses to save money,” Director Kelly added.

To complement the Department of Agriculture’s thrust in the application of digital agriculture solutions, a training programme is being planned for next month where beneficiary farmers will receive and be trained in the use of digital technology as it relates to greenhouses.