The Workshop on ICTs Transforming Agricultural Science, Research and Technology Generation organized by GFAR during the Science forum 2009 concluded that by investing in ICTs more participatory, collaborative, creative and “ímpactful” agricultural science and innovation is possible. ICTs can enable inclusion - not only scientists but all in the “chain”, from producers, processors, marketers and consumers - in agricultural innovation.

The issue is how to use advances in information sciences and ICTs, such as exponentially growing processing power, clouds of shareable tools, applications and intelligently linked content and data for an “inclusive” agricultural science, research and innovation. There is a rapidly growing ability to collect, analyze, use and reuse massive, distributed collections of data that can contribute to plant and animal breeding, improved use of natural resources for agriculture, for ensuring food safety and for averting and mitigating risk to agricultural production systems. Advances in ICTs are empowering “crowds of people” to create and manage information and knowledge and agricultural innovation systems have to harness them.

There are emerging opportunities from the use of ICTs to connect all actors and stakeholders in agricultural innovation, develop and enhance data banks and information repositories and enable them to share and exchange their contents universally. ICTs can enable greater equity in accessing information and knowledge and make agricultural research and innovation and the Institutions that foster agricultural sciences more responsive.

The workshop identified various issues such as the need for investment, new capacities in skills, balancing competing demands and policy directions related to improved information management and intellectual property rights, data security, privacy, coherence and interoperatibility of data and information management systems, fragility of human and institutional capacities, language, enabling effective use of information and the threat of marginalizing some actors that need to be considered to make full use of the opportunities that information science and ICTs have now created. The issue of changing incentive structures and benefits so as to encourage the sharing of information within scientific establishments and with the outside world also needs to be considered in this context.