ICT4D conference starts in Hyderabad

EXPERTS TALK: Cyient Founder B V R Mohan Reddy (from left) with Principal Secretary (IT) Jayesh Ranjan, ICRISAT Director General Dr David Bergvinson and IT Minister K T Rama Rao at the inaugural of the ninth annual ICT4D conference in Hyderabad on Monday. — Photo: Surya Sridhar

Hyderabad: The ICT4D Conference begun in Hyderabad on Monday and has seen participation of about 1,000 delegates from 76 different countries and 300 organisations. The event which is being held in India for the first time is a multi-disciplinary gathering of leaders, speakers and participants from around the world to explore how innovation in technology is increasing the impact of development work to make a measurable difference in millions of people’s lives.

At the ICT4D Conference, the Telangana IT Minister announced the launch of the Open Data Initiative for Telangana, under the Digital Telangana banner. The Open Data Platform is the central repository for all the datasets of the government, available in the public domain. The platform will enhance transparency in the working of the government, and aims to trigger innovative solutions to challenges.

IT Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan explained how Telangana is tying its development to the SDGs, and accelerating progress by using technology for innovation. “Today, Telangana is the first State in the country where broadband is easily available. But what is most important is that we need to demonstrate the difference technology will make to lives. The initiative to inculcate digital education has covered 6,000 schools and the benefits for children are huge because their use of digital services is instilled at a very early age,” Ranjan added.

Schuyler Thorup, EVP for Overseas Operations, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), said at the opening of the conference: “India is at the forefront of digital innovation for the SDGs. India is also a global leader in the journey towards achieving the SDGs by forging partnerships between government and NGOs to empower frontline workers with digital tools in order to create lasting positive impact. It is very exciting for the ICT4D Conference to be here in India for the first time.”

The ICT4D Conference is being held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre until Thursday 18 May. It will have sessions in line with the eight conference tracks: Agriculture, Health, Education, Livelihoods, Disaster Management, Environmental Protection, Partnerships & Cross Sector Solutions, Data-driven Adaptation and Digital Financial Inclusion.

To Work On Sustainable Agriculture

Hyderabad: With an aim to use technology to reduce farm losses and optimise farmer earnings, CGIAR, formerly known as Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research has launched its CGIAR Platform for Big Data.

ICT4D conference starts in Hyderabad
Photo: Surya Sridhar.

The new multimillion-dollar six-year global initiative was officially launched today in Hyderabad at the ICT4D Conference that is co-hosted by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), a member institute of the CGIAR. The platform, which promises to reduce risks and boost resilience, will be jointly led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in partnership with tech giants including IBM and Amazon.

The platform will bring together crop scientists at universities and research organisations and computer programmers at leading tech firms. They will collect, collate and analyze data on crops, weather, soils and more to produce precise and reliable recommendations for farmers, governments and policymakers in developing countries.

. “With enough data, we’ll be able to say if the rains will be late or on-time. We’ll be able to say which crops to plant, when to plant and how much fertilizer or water to use. We’ll be able to anticipate shocks, reduce risks and maximize opportunities for profitable, sustainable agriculture,” CIAT said.

CIAT had earlier successfully used big data on data from meteorological office and rice growers’ federation. The resulting recommendations could have saved farmers around $$1.3m in input costs in a single season. But such approaches have not yet reached the majority of smallholders (producers of commodities such as cocoa, coffee and cotton) and policymakers in developing countries.

The data revolution needs to be democratised so that the world’s 500 million smallholders who produce 70 per cent of the world’s food, can benefit.

The Platform will focus organising data on soils, climate, crops and more. It will prioritise the free and open sharing of data held by researchers at CGIAR . It will also foster new partnerships between the agricultural science and technology sectors. It will also support real-time monitoring of pest outbreaks, site-specific recommendations for farmers on water and fertiliser use and other projects with big data approaches at their core.

“Big data is a potential game-changer for agriculture as it can offer value across agricultural value chain- research and discovery, targeted provision of farmer-preferred products, services and supply chain logistics. ICRISAT is happy to offer its skills and expertise to this CGIAR effort,” said David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT.