Young Syrians empowered with knowledge of digital agriculture

Through its Smallholder Support Programme, FAO has introduced digital agriculture to Syrians to promote innovation and digitalization. In March 2022, a group of young people from seven governorates across the country completed FAO’s specialized training on the use of technology and entrepreneurship in agriculture. The Organization teamed up with the Junior Chamber International–Damascus to strengthen youth involvement in the digital transformation of agriculture with the aim of improving food production practices.

“Digital Agriculture is a form of innovation to ease agricultural production processes and practices with accuracy and efficiency,” said Alfredo Impiglia, FAO Chief Technical Advisor in Syria. “FAO is committed to the development of smart solutions for the agriculture sector, and digital agriculture is one of these solutions.”

Sixty people out of the hundreds who attended a series of online awareness sessions qualified to participate in an intensive training camp focused on digital agriculture, design thinking, proposal development, and presentation skills. People who had a background in farming, agricultural studies, and information technology were selected to participate, and the training enabled them to formulate project proposals that integrated information and communication technology with agriculture. A panel of experts selected twelve innovative business proposals to be presented at the final event, and the panel then awarded the top three proposals. Mr. Impiglia stated that “all of the proposals represent youth’s motivation to come up with innovative solutions that can improve Syria’s agriculture.”

The first place award went to “The Shepherd,” an automated system for managing sheep production that identifies the health status of animals by measuring body temperature and changes in weight. The system would also use sensors and automatic gateways to direct sick animals into isolation, protecting the health of the herd. The second place went to “Smart Farms,” a vertical farm in a climate-controlled environment to produce wheat and fast-track scientific experimentation through speed breeding. Finally, the third place was awarded to “My Farm,” an e-market mobile application and website that enables farmers to sell their products directly to consumers and retailers.

“The training has really helped me with knowledge of digital agriculture, presentation skills, and project proposal writing. The trainers have also helped a lot by explaining the essence of what this training is about and how to successfully run a project in a simple and approachable manner,” said Esraa Jaddaa, a participant who helped formulate “The Shepherd” project proposal.

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