The use of digital technology in Agricultural solutions across Africa is changing the phase of the sector. A report by the African Development Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) showcase digital agriculture opportunities.
According to the joint Digital Agricultural Profiles, Africa’s agricultural challenges are gradually phasing out as promising technologies provide Agricultural solutions. These technologies include drones, satellites, geographic information systems, weather stations and advanced analytics.
The profiles, covering Cote d’Ivoire, Rwanda and South Africa, maps the challenges and opportunities to improve the adoption of innovative digital technologies in the agriculture sector.
Essentially, these include national digital technology as well as policy landscape, user demands along the value chain and digital agriculture services and applications. More so, the profiles examine the main challenges to adoption and digital technologies with the most ability to transform the sector.
Dr. Martin Fregene, Director for Agriculture and Agro-industry at the African Development Bank commented that: “The future of agriculture is data-enabled. Conventional approaches to food production are no longer able to keep up with Africa’s fast growing food systems demands and the impact of climate change on agriculture.”
“Technological innovations and digitalization offer an opportunity to transform African agriculture to produce higher yields, increase value addition and ensure more nutritious foods on a wider scale.”Dr. Martin Fregene, Director for Agriculture and Agro-industry at the African Development Bank
Moreover, the applications of digital technology in agriculture are numerous and diverse. For instance, using satellite data, farmers can monitor crop health, soil quality and water and fertilizer usage. Also, sensors, automation and machine learning help in the adaptation of more precise agricultural operations for specific locations and conditions.
Country Agriculture profiles
Furthermore, the report indicates that Rwanda has up to 85 per cent of rural consumers that will have access to basic mobile phone services in the next five years.
For Cote d’Ivoire, access to digital technologies increased in the last decade. According to the statistics, almost everyone in the working-age group now has mobile phone access. Also, internet access in Cote d’Ivoire has scaled up really quickly, nearly half of Ivorians use the internet.
In South Africa, large scale commercial farmers have adopted the use of block chain, barcoding and fleet tracking solutions provide features for the traceability of agricultural products.
“It is critical that all development partners join forces with governments, the private sector and non-state actors to accelerate agricultural digitalization and ultimately defeat hunger globally,” Andy Jarvis, co-founder of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture.
Mohamed Manssouri, FAO Investment Centre Director remarked that:
“Agriculture’s digital transformation is an exciting and fast-moving train, and we need to make sure that small-scale farmers, women and rural youth are able to benefit from these technologies.
“The profiles give international and national financing institutions, policy-makers and public and private investors a good and quick overview of a country’s current digital landscape, as well as the main constraints and opportunities for digital policies and solutions.”Mohamed Manssouri, FAO Investment Centre Director
The Digital profiles form a part of the African Development Bank’s Agriculture Flagship programme. Profiles are also available for countries such as Argentina, Grenada, Turkey, Kenya and Vietnam, with the World Bank.
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