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Sustainably developing the agri-food sector in Mashreq countries is of paramount importance for food security, job creation, expanded export potential, and social stability and inclusion.Digital technologies could create a new momentum for economic development by accelerating the structural transformation process and by supporting the transition toward a more competitive, commercially oriented, and export-oriented agriculture and agri-business sector. Like any major technology change, digital transformation of the agri-food sector also comes with risks that need to be understood and appropriately managed.Digital technologies show promise for advancing the digital transformation of the agriculture sector in the three Mashreq countries (Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon), although their adoption is still at a relatively early stage.Digital agriculture in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon is limited by many factors.Achieving successful results in Mashreq will require that: 1)users have a better awareness of digital applications, and 2)digital applications provide timely, localized, and customized information addressing specific farming concerns in a comprehensible format and in Arabic or local languages.
The public sector has an important role in identifying public goods, policies, and investments needed to maximize the societal benefits from digital agriculture in increasing efficiency, equity, and environmental sustainability in agri-food systems.The catalytic investments and policies include establishing e-Government systems for all public services, facilitating the deployment of smart irrigation and fertilizer management systems along with appropriate policies to safeguard overexploitation of natural resources, and fostering digital ecosystem development.To stimulate the agriculture sector’s digital transformation, governments should enable the following digital and non-digital foundations.