On the 24th of September 2018 the Friendship Hall in Khartoum witnessed the inauguration of the 1st Inter-Regional Smart Agriculture Forum. The forum was under the high patronage of the Presidency of the Republic of Sudan and was organized by the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD) and the Arab Information and Communication Technologies Organization (AICTO) with co-operation of the Sudanese Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and with co-ordination with GSMA. The forum promoted the Arab agriculture and advancement in order to achieve the goals of food security. The forum was under the theme “Towards Sustainable Agricultural Development through IoT and New Technology Trends”.
The Sudanese Assistant President His Excellency Dr. Faisal Hassan Ibrahim Ali, attended the inauguration ceremony with the participation of a large number of Ministers of Agriculture and Communication Technology in the Arab and African countries as well as a wide range of scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector and Arab, regional and international organizations.
The opening ceremony was marked by a number of speeches. The opening speech was delivered by His Excellency Dr. Faisal Hassan Ibrahim and the welcoming speeches by Prof. Ibrahim Adam Ahmed Al-Dukheri, Director-General of AOAD and Eng. Mohamed Bin Omar the Secretary General of AICTO.
The other speeches were presented by H.E Eng Hasab Alnabi the Sudanese Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, H.E Mr Bushara Jumaa Aror the Sudanese Minister of Media ,Communication & Information Technology, H.E Dr Kamal Hassan Ali the Secretary General-Head of the Economic Affairs at the League of Arab States, H.E Eng Khalid Al Hunaifat the Jordanian Minister if Agriculture, H.E Eng Amir Khidir Al Biati the Iraqi Communication Ministers’ Deputy , Eng Tarik Hamza the Executive Manager of SUDATEL and Chairman of Capital United Bank Board of Directors, Mr Ammar Hamadain the Head of the Strategic Engagement-Middle East & North Africa-GSMA and through a video recording the Director General of FAO addressed the audience.
These speeches were around the importance of this event and the major challenges facing the region's agricultural development. The speeches also mentioned the new visions and methods of production in agriculture in the Arab and African regions to shift from traditional agriculture that is unable to cope with the effects of climate change to a smart modern agriculture. Agriculture will benefit from the great opportunities offered by the communications revolution, timely information related to meteorology as well as market trends and product marketing.
H.E Prof Ibrahim El Dukheri stressed that AOAD is determined to make the necessary improvements in its plans and programs of action so as to be a true support for its member countries in its march towards sustainable agricultural development. Smart agriculture is one of its main components.
H.E Dr. Faisal Hassan Ibrahim praised the importance of this initiative, noting the efforts of the two Arab organizations for agricultural development and communication and information technology. He also mentioned the significance of the agricultural sector and the initiative of the Sudanese President Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir on agricultural investment in Sudan to achieve the Arab food security, stressing that Sudan will always be supportive to all orientations and Arab and international programs aimed at achieving sustainable agricultural security.
Various papers and technologies were presented during the forum by private sectors, specialized companies, international and regional organizations, researchers and scientists that discussed the different dimensions and conditions in which farmers in the Arab region will benefit from the new technologies, which will have a positive effect on the production and productivity of their fields and farms.