By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
Home A-Z Index Subscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Minister Smith looks forward to an increased use of Information Technology (IT) in Farming and Rural Communities

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today received the Final Report of the Committee on the Uptake of Information Technology in Agriculture and Rural Communities (CUITA).

The Minister welcomed the recommendations included in the report and the suggestions for ways to promote aspects of Information and Communications Technology in general.  The Minister acknowledged the work of the committee and the many actions that had already been carried out such as research carried out into the adoption of technology by farmers, a focused promotion campaign on the benefits of using ICT; the production of a DVD about the benefits and range of facilities that can be accessed using ICT.

In particular, the Minister noted the recurrent theme in the report around the area of educating farmers and rural dwellers in the benefits of using ICT.  The best way to achieve this he explained was to have local initiatives whereby members of any community could be trained in using a PC and the Internet. One particular novel suggestion, involves harnessing local voluntary effort, in a spirit of friendly competition, to help in the cause.  Such voluntary effort along the lines of the very successful Tidy Towns Awards would seem to have great potential to bring the power of the local community into play.

The Minister was pleased to note that, contrary to common belief, age was not found to be as significant a barrier as had been thought.  Initiatives to stimulate uptake of ICT among farmers can be successful across all age groups. This is a positive finding, and it is borne out by the fact that the actions already taken on foot of the committee's interim findings have resulted in steady growth in uptake across all age groups.

The Minister explained that the overall objective of the CUITA was to examine ways to accelerate the adoption of information technology (IT) by the farming sector and rural families.  The Minister pointed out that "while online services are of value to all families, they are of particular value to rural dwellers." A vast range of services that, in the past, required a rural dweller to make a trip to the nearest big town are now available at the click of a mouse, and this can make a significant difference to the quality of rural life. Minister Smith added "I am keen to see farmers and rural families in Ireland reap the full benefits of ICT."

This Department will continue to improve the services that it provides electronically to its customers. It will also work with other organisations involved [to explore further the barriers to uptake], to remove barriers to uptake where possible, to highlight the importance and value of these technologies to rural families, and to promote greater uptake. The Minister concluded by saying that "we want to see more farmers and rural families go online."

Final report of the Committee on the Uptake of IT in Agriculture and Rural Communities in Ireland. (pdf 1,612Kb) 

Date Released: 28 October 2010