Reblogged from ICT4Ag Blog
In the Caribbean region, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is prevalent with mobile penetration at a particularly high level. Access to computers, smart phones, tablets and other ICTs is needed in every industry, with the easiest access found in the business, education, tourism, commerce and energy industries. However, with respect to the agricultural sector, ICT support varies considerably across the islands.
Some countries, such as Jamaica make heavy use of ICTs and social media in their various agricultural authorities such as the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). Conversely in several other islands, ministerial facilities and divisions are on occasions under-resourced and lack appropriate technologies which could improve service and efficiency.
Regardless, there are several examples that can be found, whereby business and research divisions source the necessary equipments to facilitate their needs, particularly along the agri-food value chain.
At the University of the West Indies Field Station in Trinidad and Tobago, livestock researchers have employed microchip technology to assist in research efforts for Agouti production. Agoutis are large mammals belonging to the rodent family. This wild mammal is native to South America and the Caribbean. Along with other animals such as manicou and iguana, it is referred to and consumed locally as ‘wild meat’ meaning that it must be hunted.
Agouti of the Field station’s production system
Conversely, research efforts at the agricultural field station have established a production system for the animal similar to that of rabbit production and other small ruminants. The aim is to facilitate a timely value chain that will provide the meat to the public which is in high demand. Although micro chipping animals is not a novel idea, establishment of an entirely new option in meat production is. Using the technology, researchers are able to communicate and record important data such as genealogy, size and growth rate which will then support research activity. Despite this interesting precedent, researchers face issues in acquiring the necessary funding for continued and further investigate work.