Mzansi Agriculture Talk

Africa Talk

Is Africa capable of feeding Africa in this digital age?

The 9th edition of the Alliance for a Green Revolution wrapped up on September 6, in Ghana with the key message emanating from the conference being; Is Africa capable of feeding Africa in this digital age?

Experts, business, academia and NPO’s seamlessly were in union about digital farming being a solution to address Africa’s food shortage. Across the continent, evidence existed that farmers were embracing digital farming.

Keith Agoada, Founder and CEO of Producers Market supported the evidence that those farmers who migrated to digital farming were increasing their production volumes and eliminating risks.

“We are playing our role in digitizing the agriculture value chain. We believe in farmers and agricultural producers.”

In China, online retail sales in rural areas increased from 182 billion to 1,370 billion in 2018 accounting for 15.2% of the nation’s total said Prof. Kevin Chen, Senior Research Fellow and Head of the East and Central Asia Office of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

The Chinese government since 2015 made a deliberate effort to promote e-commerce, especially in the rural areas.

According to the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA) Africa was expediting transforming to digitalisation. In its 2018/2019 Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report it discovered that at least 33 million farmers in Africa were using digital platforms to access agricultural services such as finance, markets, and satellite imagery.

The report furthermore suggested that the were 400 digital solutions available for-scale farmers registered across sub-Saharan Africa. This number is projected to increase to 200 million by 2030.

Ndidi Nwuneli of Sahel Capital believed Africa’s digitalisation in the food business could open an untapped market. “If everybody just spends one dollar a day on food, we’re talking about a multi-billion-dollar industry. If everybody spends ten dollars on food, we’re talking about a multi-trillion-dollar industry,” she said.

Africa, as it stands, generates an average of U.S.$127 million in food income through the use of digitisation services.

While Africa was encouraged to move into this direction, Dr Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Director at Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD) said “privacy protection was a key risk we needed to prepare for in the age of digital agriculture. What legal protection are we putting in place to protect our farmer’s data?”

Is Africa capable of feeding Africa in this digital age?
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