ICT and Agriculture :Realising the Development Dividend - Mini Conference 18 February 2018
11h15, Thursday
4th February
wsu, ecsecc, nemisa, inesi, agriculture, rural development

ICT_and_Agriculture Mini Conference - 18 February 2016

The Conference is hosted by the ICT for Rural Development e-Skills Colab, ECSECC, The Walter Sisulu University Centre for Community Engagement an Internationalisation.


After our successful launch seminar on ‘ICT and Agriculture: Realising the Development Dividend’ held in March 2015, it is time to take the process forward. We have started the discussion.

The 2016 mini conference will seek to explore local and regional practice more deeply.

The key themes of the launch seminar in March 2015:

  • Critical role players in development have long recognised the potential for the Eastern Cape to improve the livelihoods of its communities through agriculture and rural development. The Eastern Cape is endowed with natural resources – most people living in the rural hinterland can sustain a livelihood out of these. This potential however is still to be recognised: food security is still a challenge for many, farming as a commercial activity is still low, large tracks of land lie fallow etc.
  • With South Africa’s drive to close the digital divide and address digital poverty, what prospects does information and communication technology (ICT) hold to help address underperformance of the Eastern Cape agriculture sector ?

The 2016 mini-conference will seek to take the conversation forward.

The growth of the agriculture sector in the Eastern Cape requires growing value chains in established new high value commodities, growing the agro-processing subsector, and improving research, planning, extension services and education. This requires new partnerships and   innovative approaches.

The conference will highlight the pivotal role of ICT in these approaches through presentation of concrete examples and engagement in panel discussions with existing practitioners, researchers and conference delegates.

The core focus areas to be addressed

  • To what extent can ICT help increase agricultural productivity through providing access to knowledge, information and technology?
  • How can ICT be harnessed to bring rural women and youth into the agricultural sector?
  • What is the potential contribution of ICT to capacitate small and emerging farmers?
  • What ICT training is needed to bridge the digital divide in the agricultural sector and how can ICT be used to provide sector-related training?

Speakers will include

  • Hon Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, Deputy Minister, Dept Telecommunications and Postal Services
  • Dr Vuyo Mahlati, African Financial Group and National Planning Commission
  • Mr Ayanda Madyibi, Provincial Chief Information Officer, Office of the Premier, Eastern Cape

Other  panellists

Practitioners and academics from CSIR, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the University of the Western Cape, local farmers and farmers’ organisations, SMME software and hardware vendors, and members of a winning team from the December 2015 AgriHack Talent Challenge (held in association with Global Forum for Innovation in Agriculture).

Programme to follow.

Mini Conference details



Spaces are limited so please RSVP as soon as possible to



Conference organisers

Lorna van der Merwe
Acting coordinator, ICT for Rural Development e-Skills CoLab
based at Walter Sisulu University (Chiselhurst site, EastLondon)
+27 (0) 76 401 2151 / +27 (0) 43 709 4708

Siv Helen Hesjedal
Manager, Information and Knowledge Management
ECSECC (Eastern Cape Socio Economic Consultative Council)
+27 (0) 82 496 7033 / +27 (0) 43 701 3400

Mzolisi Payi
Director, Centre for Community Engagement and Internationalisation
Walter Sisulu University
+27 (0) 83 387 5265 / +27 (0) 43 702 9250


Posted by
Victoria Tau