FAO to introduce four digital applications to support farmers

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations will introduce four digital applications at the Youth Employment in Agriculture conference to be held in Kigali, Rwanda on Monday, August 20 and Tuesday, August 21.

The applications are aimed to help farmers improve their household nutrition, food production, income and livelihoods.

The digital applications are, “Cure and Feed your livestock”, “e-Nutrifood”, “Weather and Crop Calendar” and “AgriMarketplace”.

Mr Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, briefing the media ahead of the conference said FAO was seeking innovative business models and new technologies to unlock the largely untapped reservoir of youth employment.

The conference aims to foster an exchange among stakeholders on knowledge and best practices regarding the interfaces between agriculture, youth employment, entrepreneurship, ICT innovations, leading to prioritising interventions going forward.

The two-day event is on the theme “Youth Employment in Agriculture as a Solid Solution to ending Hunger and Poverty in Africa: Engaging through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Entrepreneurship”

It will also deliberate on Youth and entrepreneurship, Digital innovation to overcome agriculture value-chain related constraints and Future of Agriculture Work.

He said the Agricultural services and digital inclusion in Africa project was piloted in two African countries: Rwanda and Senegal.

He said these four digital applications for smallholder farmers have been developed and tested with the farmers.

He said with the “Cure and Feed your livestock” application; it an application that provide real time information on animal diseases control and animal feeding strategies and “e-Nutrifood”; combines information on production, conservation and consumption of nutritious foods.

The FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa said the “Weather and Crop calendar” application also combines information on weather forecasts, crop calendars and alert systems, while “AgriMarketplace” application, connects producers, traders and consumers to facilitate trade and access to inputs.

He said agriculture had an extremely valuable and untapped potential to solve the youth unemployment challenges on the African continent.

He said the youth were the key partners and powerful catalysts of change in combined efforts to promote more and better employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for the young people in agriculture in Africa.

He said there was a potential for the agriculture sector to create employment, however, African youths in Sub-Saharan Africa do not realise the sector as a profitable opportunity for livelihood.

On areas of Migration, Mr Tijani said to curb youth migration investing more in agriculture and rural development was key to making migration a voluntary choice.

He said FAO through policy assistance and awareness-raising in youth entrepreneurship, seeks to develop a strong enabling environment in which young people could thrive and seize current and future decent rural employment opportunities.

It also seeks to develop innovative and field-tested approaches that address the constraints rural youth face in accessing decent work and support government in the design and implementation of strategies that more effectively target rural youth.

“FAO also work with government to integrate youth issues into national agricultural investment plans,” he added.

The conference is expected to bring together more than 500 delegates, mostly young people from across Africa to discuss ways to boost employment opportunities in agriculture on the continent through the use of information and communication technologies and entrepreneurship.

The agenda will focus on sustainable solutions for decent youth employment in agriculture in Africa such as minimising drudgery while harnessing opportunities in agribusiness entrepreneurship and innovation to enhance productivity and competitiveness.

Source: GNA

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