For three days in Villach, Austria, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and PROGIS brought together leading experts on public policy, representatives from business, cooperatives, farmer organizations, education, and research from across the world to discuss how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can improve family farming and make it more sustainable, resilient, and profitable.
The forum had three main focus goals for ICTs: to inform family farming communities, to improve family farms’ production, productivity, and marketing efficiencies, and to contribute to the future of agriculture. “We have to cooperate, without collaboration we will not be able to solve the problems,” said Walter H Mayer, CEO of PROGIS and Treasurer of the Club of Ossiach. “This is a platform for interaction and dialogue and it needs to be global.”
The conference was initiated by the Club of Ossiach, a group of agriculturists, agribusiness managers, agriculture and forestry technologists, environmentalists, and agricultural ICT specialists from around the world. “This is what the Club of Ossiach is all about, that we are not only here to produce more food as farmers, we are not only making the food affordable, but we are making food healthy and nutritious,” said Dr. Ajit Maru, Chairman of the Club of Ossiach and Senior Knowledge Officer at (GFAR).
“Family farming is at the core of agriculture worldwide,” said Robin Bourgeois, Senior Foresight and Development Policies Expert and Secretariat at GFAR.
“We don’t want to enable family farming, we want to improve family farming,” explained Dr. Maru.
The Club of Ossiach meets periodically to discuss and influence the use of ICTs to improve agricultural practices and productivity for family farmers around the world.