The global impact on food security is one of the major priorities at the COP27 climate summit. Recently the Commonwealth Secretary-General called on other leaders to collaborate and learn from each other to transform their future strategies.
Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, emphasised that for countries to deliver a more productive and sustainable agricultural industry and ultimately be more resilient to climate change, we must utilise big data and other digital technology. New digital tools can transform business plans within the agricultural chain and tackle productivity, harvesting, finance and supply chain management issues.
At COP27, Commonwealth Secretary announced a new policy guide focusing specifically on global food security. This guide is one of the first to explore how digital technology impacts the agricultural industry. Scotland believes that this policy guide is a critical step, not only for the Commonwealth but also for small, developing and middle-income nations. The guide supports policy leaders in recognising key areas that can improve and develop this market.
Agriculture is responsible for food security and employment in most Commonwealth member states, with over half of the collective 2.5 billion people residing in rural regions and connected with smallholder farming.
Created by the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda, the framework discussed in The State of Digital Agriculture in the Commonwealth guide explores various regions based on their current digital technology, infrastructure, and enabling further digital progression and suggesting strategies for progress.
According to the policy guide, while regions like Africa lack some critical data infrastructure, considerable progress has been made through digital innovation, new technologies and services. In Asia, technologies for agriculture have progressed across the region, but overall affordability continues to challenge the most vulnerable communities.
The business development market, financing and investments remain underdeveloped within the Caribbean and Pacific Small Island nations. In Europe, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, smart digital technologies are widely used, and the policy guide encourages other regions to collaborate and learn from these innovations to assist them in making continued progress. While speaking about climate resilience and food security at COP27, Secretary-General Scotland emphasised that further efforts must be made by the public and private sectors to recognise the potential of digital and big data solutions for the agricultural industry.