Youth, ICT, SPC - LandAgriculture and Resources Division (LRD) Rural Development
“The role of SPC in facilitating the use of ICT to promote agriculture for young people”• Today, young people tend to choose a field of study that they find sexy, that creates opportunities in the business sector, that generates money• Changing the mindset of a young person can be quite tricky when they have to choose agriculture over pharmacy, medicine or any other popular field of expertise• The question is, why should young people be interested in agriculture? And how can ICTs play a significant role in making agriculture an attractive field to young people?• It is unusual to find young people to choose agriculture as a career and there are many reasons behind it. We are proud to say that our SPC – Land Resources Division has young agriculture field officers and technicians that chose agriculture as their field of study.
Voices of young aspiring leaders Miri, a talented young colleague who is currently an agriculture and forestry policy network administrator (PAFPnet) said that she was always interested to learn more about the extension officers in the field. She chose agriculture as a degree because it was something she enjoyed in high school. She also commented “Agriculture study was offered in Samoa at the University ofthe South Pacific Alafua campus and being away from home, having an independent life intriguedher interests in the field of agriculture”. She uses ICT to reach out to other young professionals in the field of agriculture. She currently manages the PAFPNet Pacific youth and agriculture facebook page and the PAFPNet mailing list which generates a lot of interest on youth and ICT activities
Voices of young aspiring leaders This youngcommunications expert in SPC-LRD has anagriculture background and he uses Facebook, Forestry mailing lists, blog to promote share information on agriculture
Voices of young aspiring leaders Colleague in his 20’s described agriculture as a fieldwhich is not imaginary. “Agriculture is based on real life situation and its application on day to day basis has always been fruitful”. He wanted to become a vet or a plant botanist and the agriculture field offered both plant and animal science which he found very interesting. In the field of agriculture, there are moreopportunities to get a job or to start your own business. “I never thought ICT was useful in my work but today I’m using ICT to promote my work to colleagues in the Pacific region.
Voices of young aspiring leaders A friend/colleague also mentioned that the field of agriculture is relevant to his upbringing as an islander inthe rural areas where agriculture is part and parcel of life.He grew up working for his father in their farm as a young boy and started liking agriculture. He decided to pursuehis study in the field of agriculture through the Universityof the South Pacific and is now the Plant Health Specialistin SPC-LRD. He rarely uses ICT to promote his work but he is constantly emailing and using the Plant health mailing list to network with his stakeholders in the region.
Is there an opportunity to regain what we have lost … ?? I have an ICT background and under my SPC-LRD-ICT project, I coordinate information and knowledge management-ICT activities for the Pacific Island Countries and Territories. I’ve always been interested in agriculture but never pursued a career --- as a kid I was surrounded by a family of talented farmers and business/entrepreneurs. My family owned 480 acres of freehold land (17 miles away from the old capital of Fiji called Levuka). It was a dairy farm, vegetable and copra farm. 100 + people worked every day on the farm and they were from the nearby islands (my family provided food, shelter and income to these families)…
Pacific Context• In the Pacific, we are facing challenges like climate change, economic instability, high incidence of pest and diseases, high cost of production, increased dependency on imported foods, low exports, high rates or rural-urban migration, high levels of youth unemployment, connectivity etc…• Increasing the participation of youth in agriculture could be an important means of improving food security, youth livelihoods and employment in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs).• SPC through its LRD -Pacific Agriculture and Forestry Policy Network (PAFPNet) is examining the role played by different actors in helping young people to participate in agricultural activities and enterprises – this was emphasized in the Pacific Heads of Agriculture and Forestry meeting in 2008.
Pacific Youth in Agriculture Strategy Stakeholder Consultations in Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati ICT, Education, Learning, Training Mainstreaming youth issues, mainstreaming agriculture in school curriculum, Showcasing Youth success stories, entrepreneurs hip, family support
‘This award recognises the potential of the Pacific and its ability to change global market requirements to satisfy market and socially- Young entrepreurs Mr Gary Tarte from Fiji conscious shoppers,’ saidand Ms Sharmayne Ryan received outstanding the 24-year-old from PNG. awards for their contribution towards trade and value adding in agricultural and forestryproducts. Facebook and mailing list networks were used to promote their achievement
PAFPNet Essay and Blog Competition Essay competition was promoted• PAFPNet Essay Competition: “Finding solutions to through facebook, information poverty alongside negative attitude youth ICT networks, towards agriculture and adapting to climate Universities, change in the Fiji Islands” PAFPnet mailing list, LRD mailing list• Riten Gosai represented the Pacific region at CTA youth exchange and Web 2.0 training in Ghana --- This was organised through ARDYIS essay contest.
Perception?• What is the link between agriculture, youth and ICTs? Young people love exploring innovative ideas and they feel the need to constantly use ICTs. ICTs can change the perception of our young people and it can also promote agriculture through programs supported by government organizations and other partner organizations.• Majority of our young people are always using the internet but it’s not always clear as to how they could apply ICT in agriculture to make agriculture an interesting subject. In order to do this, organizations such as Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural development (CTA) are working together to empower youth on the use of ICT in agriculture.
ICT for Agriculture in the Pacific The Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services meeting agreed to: (i) Acknowledge that ICT is an important tool that contributes to the development of the agriculture sector and rural areas; (ii) Noted the potential of the Framework for Action on ICT for Development in the Pacific in assisting the agriculture sector; and (iii) Noted LRD ICT initiatives in agriculture and rural development.
SPC-LRD initiatives Web 2.0/Social media In 2011, SPC in collaboration with CTA conducted the web 2.0 and social media workshop in Fiji. SPC invited staff representatives from the different divisions with SPC to be trained as trainers on the use of web 2.0 and also Fiji ministry representatives from the different Majority of the thematic divisions. participants were under 35 --- some were already After the successful 2 week training, SPC will using social media tools organize another 2 workshops in Fiji --- one for to promote their work the Ministry of Agriculture staff and the other on agriculture, food workshop will target youths in the Fiji Ministry, security, reproductive civil society, NGOs, Universities etc (currently and health planned for 2012
Agriculture is life – a blog created after the web 2.0/social media workshop in Fiji http://miriamabrown.blogspot.com/
Blog site: Improving Youth Livelihoods through Agriculture http://youthlivelihoods.blogspot.com/
Thoughts on the use of social media/web 2.0 Web 2.0 can play an important role : But what’s crucial is: What is the right tool to use ? Who uses these tools in your organizations name? How do you manage your interactions and discussions? What’s appropriate and what isn’t appropriate to say? Who handles your social media profiles? And should you develop a strategy or a guideline?
Organisational point of view It is important to develop a guideline – LRD in collaboration with SPC publications section developed a guideline on the use of web 2.0/social media tools Guidelines: Always keep your Purpose Director/Team Background The use of web 2.0 Leader and ICT Risks on the use of web 2.0 Director/Manager Planning/design in the loop Complying with Organizational ICT policy and Acceptable use policy Rules of engagement --- how to interact with your stakeholders and how to respond to queries Implementing guidelines for personnel use
Market Information System (MIS)• The use of mobile phones in agriculture has proven to be effective in rural areas. Everywhere you go, you will see more and more people using mobile phones to communicate with their family, friends, colleagues etc.• SPC-LRD has just introduced a pilot project in the Ministry of Agriculture in Fiji on the use of Market Information Systems (MIS). This was successfully funded by UNCTAD and ITC.• The Fiji ministry is currently using this MIS to manage farm data, marketing of their prices on products and to be in touch with their clients (exporters, importers, middle man etc).• We encourage young field officers who are managing this database system. During the implementation these young agriculture officers were working with our team as they had hands-on ICT skills
GIS solutions for agriculture• Through the support of German Forestry programme, LRD is organising a training workshop for Fiji Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry staff which “fosters the learning of geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning satellite systems (GPS)…• We have also requested directors of the divisions to nominate young field officers who are currently using technology to improve field mapping, to promote informed decision making, promote farm planning, field mapping, soil sampling, variable rate applications, and yield mapping.• Part of this project is to promote participation from young officers who are keen to learn more about the technology and to be able to act as trainers in their field of expertise to promote the use of GIS/GPS
ICM, Information and Knowledge Management, Internet Governance opportunities• SPC in collaboration with FAO facilitated the ICM-IKM workshop in Fiji. The workshop identified key recommendations. One of the recommendations is to promote the use of ICT – The workshop was promoting IK management (IKM) for agricultural development --- the ideas was to move beyond strategies and undertake relevant action-oriented programmes. • One of the key points highlighted was the lack of youth and ICT for agriculture activities --- recommendation was to work with other partner organizations to implement activities for youths• In collaboration with Diplo Foundation, SPC organised an Internet Governance workshop in Fiji and Cook islands --- workshop targeted the ministry reps and also youth organisations that discussed cyber security issues, emerging issues, youth and ICT etc…• Knowledge awareness seminars --- this is in-house and also targeted towards University and secondary school students. SPC promotes field visits to allow schools and universities to meet with technical staff who are experts in the field of agriculture, climate change, gender, youths etc.•
The use ofweb 2.0 in LRD Monthly Newsletter distributed by snail mail Newsletter on the website
Innovations vs. Complexity Information and Communication Technology: Is shaping the way we communicate and collaborate. helps us to facilitate interaction and knowledge work allows us to become trend-setter to help us connect with other experts and create a network of experts gives us an opportunity to learn about food security, agriculture, climate change etc But what about the implications, impact, advantages and disadvantages of using ICTs --- do young people understand the threats?
Use of ICTs as a challenge? ICT can play an important role in the field of agriculture: But what’s crucial is: What is the right ICT tool to promote agriculture? How useful do you see ICT as a tool to promote or encourage young people ? Is it necessary to develop a strategy or a guideline for the use of ICTs or social media tools to promote agriculture? How do we tackle connectivity issues in rural areas? Who should tackle this issue? Tonga just won a contract for laying the 827-kilometre submarine fibre optic cable between Fiji and Tonga has been awarded to French telecommunications giant Alcatel --- capacity of 320 Gbits
How to continue strengthening? Role of internet has changed --- it’s now the era of digital age Using real scenario case studies --- Conducting a workshop for a group of youths in rural sector and use role models But today, the radio, television, newspapers, to talk to them about agriculture , print-publications are still popular mediums document all this online for accessing news and information and activities on agriculture sector Promoting activities for youth farmer Media plays an important role in creating associations --- Youths to lead this awareness on areas such as climate change, food security, agriculture etc. Perhaps we need to integrate “The role of ICTs and Media to promote Mentorship --- Agriculture experts to and strengthen youth opportunities in agriculture” act as mentors to promote interns etc
Thoughts/concluding remarks Are we monitoring andevaluating the impact ? Is How do we work this the right way ? How together? How do we can you learn from the collaborate and use young farmers? success stories to implement in other countries? ICT is a POSSIBLE tool but not entirely a solution. When we think of development, we should not only relate it to technology, it should promote a discussion that is centred on people and content. Winning the trust of target beneficiaries – without trust youths will not use theHow do we convince the service – how can we leaders (ministers, demonstrate the benefits ofdirectors and ourselves) ICTs/services? .... that ICT plays an important role?
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