Droning for information


We have reached the final day of the Pacific Community AgriTourism Week and at this point many of the ‘hearsay’ conversations have been around finding time to buy Fijian souvenirs to take back home. But there is still the most important and most exciting session, personally for me, that has not been discussed and is extremely different from the rest of the sessions.

As Chris Addison from CTA said as he introduced the session on “Addressing the data gaps for Agribusiness/Agritourism” at the agribusiness forum: “we have saved the best for last”.

Guy Morel from the Seychelles Agricultural Agency, asks the question: What is the most important input in the value process?

It is information.

The stage was set with the brief presentation by the Social Reporting Team of how information captured from the week has been dispersed through social media channels.

Kevin Rotsaert of Skyward Industries Ltd pointed out that “Information is key – it is the driver for success.”

Stakeholders rely on key information to help them make decisions within the value chain. Before information becomes information, it is data. Information is the collection and presentation of data. Data is present all along the value chain and there is so much data available but how we access, collect, manage this data has been the general challenge amongst all Pacific nations.

With the advance of technology which presents various ways of data and various examples of data systems available, there is still a huge range in terms of the type of technology being utilised and it goes back to who will be using this data, the level of understanding of the group of people that the data will be collected by and from and what the data will be used for.

Models of “Technology”

In Samoa, an example of an interactive, collaborative model called Participatory 3D Modelling (P3DM) allowed people within the community such as chiefs, women and young people to interact together and build data into a 3D map which was easy to understand and actually ‘see’ information and results  being developed and put together.

This required minimal skills from stakeholders and use of visual presentation.

Mr Rotsaert presented a more advanced information collecting method using current technology with the use of “drones” which overcomes the issues with traditional collection methods of land area data to identify chain of dependency along the value chain, and then there is the most basic form of data collection “pen and paper technology”.

ICT development

With the growth and expansion of internet technology, mobile and web applications are being designed and developed everyday – but how ‘useful’ are these to Pacific organisations? How can we customise or simplify these so that the simple farmer will understand how to use it?

Engaging locally-based ICT developers who understand the environment, the people and the current issues in the community or sectors and developing a collaborative project which includes the client, developer and audience is dream worth pursuing but continues to be a challenge in the Pacific.

Way forward

Increasing and improving relationships with current ICT service providers, creating a database of developers, benchmarking ICT projects and providing ICT competitons such as AgriTourism Hackathon in the region may create opportunities for knowledge sharing, identifying ICT skills and improved ways of collecting, managing and presentation of data.  To lower costs of ICT innovations, drone devices are looked at being customised and built locally.

Photo credit: Samoa observer

Blogpost by Carole Cholai, Social Reporter for the Pacific Community AgriTourism Week 2015.

Copyright © 2016, CTA. Technical Centre for Rural and Agricultural Cooperation

CTA is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.