AgriFuture Days 2014 International Conference was held in the beautiful town of Villach, Austria on 16-18, June 2014. It was organized by the Club of Ossiach. More than 125 agricultural experts from 30 countries took part in the event. Over 30 presentations were made in the conference including those on the application of ICT for family farming of Europe, Africa, North America and China, the weather forecast applications for agriculture, precision agriculture based on 3S, agricultural data open access, the farmers’ occupation school. Meanwhile, the study progress of 7 projects had been released: EU-Project ”FOODIE” farm oriented open data in Europe; Feasibility study as start for countrywide AGRO-solutions in Turkey; Innovation of China’s Basic-level Agricultural Extension Team with ICTs; Interconnection of data on dairy farms in Austria; ICTs application and future development in China Rural areas; Using Advanced software such as of PROGIS for Increasing the Return of Investments in Agriculture and Aquaculture Production in Egypt etc.
At the meeting, it had been spread widely that the outstanding achievements of the agricultural informatization in the world, the development of agricultural information technology and the successful experience of serving for the rural areas and farmers in each country. Some views from the Chinese participants by attending the conference mainly are as the follows:
1. Benefit to international exchanges of ICT services, and promoting the application of ICT for the farmers
At present, the development of family farming and small rural business based on ICT has drawn widespread attention. The common actions on applying ICT for family farming and small business have been spread in Europe as well as in other countries. The development of agricultural informatization can intensify their market participations and competitiveness. Meanwhile, the demand of open access data and knowledge is more and more urgent, and the usage of ICT should be suitable for the needs of the family farm. Now we should advance the knowledge-oriented innovation and application of ICT, and make more individual farmers and farm families take full advantage of ICT to promote the development of family farming in China.
2. Referencing on the experience of promotion for international ICT products, to improve the internationalization level of agricultural ICT products in China
There was a good presentation of International ICT products useful in agriculture, forestry and environment. There were several products developed by PROGIS that were presented. The conference is a perfect international promotion platform for ICT products. Through the meeting, the visibility of various companies can be increased swiftly, which will be the foundation of international cooperation forward. One such company was PROGIS which was founded in 1994. PROGIS is mainly engaged in the application of information technology in rural areas. As one of the main organizers of the conference, PROGIS introduced the technology advantages and application cases of their main products by several reports at the meeting.
China's agricultural ICT products maybe not weaker than others, especially the general ICT products, but we need to publicize worldwide. It is a key step in the preliminary stage of internationalization that we need to choose and pack internationally high-quality, advanced, promising products of agricultural ICT for farmers, and publicly to be available for further promotion and wide usage, and make the achievements of china’s agricultural information services be accessible worldwide.
3. Promoting agricultural open access data with united wisdom and strength
The remarkable achievements have been made in the global agricultural informatization, but the obvious “digital gap” between countries, regions, urban and rural areas still exists. To eliminate the gap, the global agricultural open data platform should be found to share more and more data and information, emphasizing timeliness, usability and accessibility of the data, and to realize co-construction and sharing of agricultural information resource among each ountries. It is also the goal of CIARD. Since the date of CIARD CN set up in China in 2010, CIARD members in China are active and hope to contribute more to the CIARD community. We need this international platform with united wisdom and strength. CIARD in China still have space to be more perfect in the data and information sharing and serve the small farmers.
In order to supply better services to agricultural users, particularly the farmers, we put forward a few suggestions:
(1)Based on the international platform of agricultural scientific data and information services, we should strive for closer cooperation and support in open access of data by multi channels. Taking CIARD as the comprehensive platform of agricultural information resource in China, it can be provided the status of agricultural information resource construction and sharing including information resource distribution worldwide etc., which will greatly improve the controllability and the actual usage efficiency of agricultural information resources.
(2)Information resource evaluation can be carried out in future. We can attract the users to score on our information resources, and as a result, CIARD will give a key recommendation and some financial rewards for the information resources with high score. In this way, the users’ participation of the platform, as well as open level of information resource by providers will be greatly improved.
(3) In the name of international organizations, we may set up agricultural data open and sharing project fund for improving and establishing of the agricultural scientific research data set, sharing resources and special
Above all, the good operational mechanism is needed as the guarantee for the co-construction and sharing of agricultural scientific research data resources, as well as the attention and support of international agricultural organizations, the Chinese government, the majority of IM/IT staffs and ordinary users. It is the undertaking of reactive powering in the contemporary, and will benefit to future generations.
4. Strengthening information technology training of agricultural enterprises and farmers
Agricultural information technology is becoming more and more mature, and the usage rate of internet hit a new record constantly. Under the good situation of Chinese government supporting agricultural informatization, we should intensify the hands on training of information technology application for farmers and the small and medium-sized rural enterprises, especially in using of ICTs, application system and intelligent system. Case propagation of good use of ICTs can be organized regularly to push the rural informatization based on facts. As a result, practically better effects can be obtained by combining study and practice, and meanwhile the enthusiasm of the farmers for the information technology application will arise, and promote the development of agricultural informatization in the country.
More details of the Agrifuture Days International Conference are available in the Club of Ossiach’s Statement on the Conference.