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Information and communication technology (ICT) has been transforming the way agriculture is practiced even in remote parts of the developing world for many years now. Cell phones are helping small producers -- from poor farmers in India to fishermen in Sierra Leone -- access market information, bargain for their goods and raise their income. In the forestry sector, business technology is also moving towards handheld mobile devices that can help isolated groups monitor forests, tree-by-tree, for the benefit of many stake-holders along the chain of custody.
PROFOR is studying ways in which ICT could make forest governance and law enforcement more effective. PROFOR is also supporting the development of a chain of custody system in Liberia, where tracking technology is being used.
At a lunch-time discussion on ICT and governance, at the World Bank on May 14th, 2010, we spoke with one of the service providers in this field to learn more about data collection and its potential. Patrick Newton is founder and CEO of Helveta, a UK-based software company that specializes in traceability and control across the agribusiness supply chain.