Zunaid Ahmed Palak visited FAO’s digital village in Cox's Bazar

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is working with Ministry of Agriculture and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division to unleash the potential of digital agriculture in bridging the urban-rural divide and integrate rural areas in the digital economy to ensure food and nutrition security.

Agrilife24.com:To break the digital divide in rural areas and support the smallholder farmers in Tulatoli village located at Ukhiya, a special visit by honorable State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific developed the digital village Initiative to support existing and potential digital villages, increase farm productivity and profitability, and combat hunger, poverty, and inequality in rural farming communities.

Smallholder farmers connected with FAO’s digital village initiative can receive various e-services from government and/or private actors. Apart from that, the digital village initiative can serve as an information exchange and knowledge-sharing platform between farmers, groups, and communities. With further transformation, it can be an entry point for digitalization, employment generation including youth male and female, modernization of agriculture, and income generation.

In total there are 60 digital villages across Barishal, Rangpur and Cox’s Bazar. These Digital villages are being operated by producer organizations who are currently maintaining 57 Virtual call centers to aggregate produce for collective marketing and facilitate bulk procurement of agricultural inputs. These Digital Villages promote 23 digital agriculture applications developed or supported by the government; they also provide rural farmers with digital literacy training so that they can take advantage of new opportunities. Digitizing the agricultural value chains, especially for small scale producers, requires business acumen, FAO provides full range support in this area - from production to distribution.

The visit included Mr. Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, a2i, ICT Division, Mr. Ashish Ranjan Nath, Deputy Director (In-Charge), Department of Agricultural Extension, Cox’s Bazar, and Mr. Imran Hossain Shajib, Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar, as the special guest of the event.

Nearly 50 farmers, community members, and officers from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations were also present at the event.