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Africa generates $127m with use of digitisation services – Report

The Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report for 2018-2019 has revealed that Africa generates $127 million with the use of digitisation services for agriculture activities.

The amount will increase to $2.3 billion in the next decade.

Mr Michael Hailu, Director of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA), the Organisation that prepared the report, said about 33 million farmers in Africa had registered with various organisations to access agricultural services including; financial, market access solutions and satellite imagery management.

He said majority of the farmers registered for extension advisory services and the number would increase to 200 million by 2030.

Mr Hailu made this known at the official media launch of the 2019 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) and the Digitisation of African Agriculture Report for 2018-2019 in Accra on Monday.

The four-day forum (September 3-6) will evaluate how far African Continent has progressed in the past decade with agriculture development, discuss policies and programmes that will help attract the needed investments and strategise ways of leveraging on technology as a key driver for agricultural transformation.

It will bring together 2,300 delegates in Africa and across the globe including; Heads of State, Central Bank Governors and captains of industry, as well as development partners, farmer organisations, agripreneurs and other critical stakeholders.

The event will be hosted by the government of Ghana and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) being held on the theme: ‘‘Grow Digital: Leveraging Digital Transformation to Drive Sustainable Food Systems’’.

The hosting of the AGRF in Ghana is important because the idea of revolutionising African agriculture was mooted by former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, who was also the Founding Chairman of the AGRF, which coincides with one-year anniversary of his passing.

Mr Hailu noted that about 50 per cent of African farmers in few years’ time would also use artificial intelligence, drones and digital data to enhance agriculture activities to improve productivity and incomes.

He underscored the need for governments, private investors and development partners, to work together to make digitisation of the agricultural sector a game changer in Africa and stimulate massive transformation.

Mr Hailu called for stringent action by governments to make agriculture gender inclusive by ensuring that women used technology in farming activities, noting that, only 25 per cent of women used technology in farming and agribusiness, while 70 per cent of young people used technology in agriculture value chain.

The report provided understanding on digitisation usage in six African countries, revenue generated and future prospect, adding that, 200 entrepreneurs were interviewed.

He underlined the need for African governments to make agricultural transformation a priority in the policy agenda in the quest to meet the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity, youth unemployment and overall economic development.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture, outlined the objectives of the forum including; showcasing Africa’s agricultural transformation efforts and ensuring that it was in accordance with the Malabo Declaration and court political support from African governments and development partners for greater investments and leadership to transform the agricultural sector.

He said the forum would create a platform for agribusinesses and farmer organisations to negotiate with partner organisations that would ensure new deals and partnerships towards increasing investments in the sector.

There will be Presidential Summit whereby heads of states will share ideas and discuss various policies and programmes rolled out in their respective countries that are bringing transformation to the agricultural sector and make key commitments to enhance investments in the sector.

The 2019 Food Prize Winner with $100,000 award package would be announced at the forum by an eminent committee chaired by former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, which will recognise the contribution of an individual or organisation that had turned agriculture from struggle to survive to a business that thrives.

Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, the convenor of the forum, said it would create an opportunity for discussions to ensure that the Continent leveraged on technology/digitisation, including; use of mobile phones, drones and satellite imagery to resolve infrastructure challenges in the agricultural sector in Africa.

More so, the platform would discuss challenges posed by the climate change and evaluate how the African Continent could utilise the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to boost trade and development.

She urged the media to play a critical role by educating the populace on the issues that were tabled for discussion and disseminate accurate information about the key outcomes of the forum in order to rally the people towards the implementation of the resolution.

There are more than 250 million farmers in Africa therefore the key issues that will emerge from the forum will help the African Continent leapfrog into the next level of food security and create job opportunities for millions of the teeming unemployed youth.

Source: GNA

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