The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has published the Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report, 2018-2019. The report advocates for the digital agricultural transformation that can feed Africa.
In his launch statement, the CTA Director, Michael Hailu stated, “With the right policies, innovation and investment, the continent’s agriculture could be transformed into a powerhouse not only to feed a growing population but to create decent employment for millions of young people.
And as long as we learn from lessons, do it right and manage risks and take into account data sovereignty, inclusivity, sustainability, we will all benefit from digitalisation.“
The report is the first attempt to consolidate evidence and provide proof of impacts and the knowledge that will allow evidence-based investments.
While, in the report, we find a young sector, it’s clear that the appetite for D4Ag is burgeoning. However, without the right policy focus and investment there is a danger that the development will be piecemeal, either sustainable nor inclusive. To capitalise on this opportunity we need to ensure that development is coordinated, that best-practices are shared and a collaborative approach to rolling out and scaling-up digital innovation, primarily focused on increasing use by farmers, is adopted.
They say data is the new oil. For Africa it is certainly the case that data might be the fuel that drives the transformation of smallholder farming and keeps the continent on track to meet its food and nutrition demands into this century and beyond. All the indicators point to a market that is ripe for investment now. And as long as we learn from lessons, do it right and manage risks and take into account data sovereignty, inclusivity, sustainability, we will all benefit.
This report realises that there is great appetite for D4Ag and that policy mechanism should be invested in to guide the implementation of digital solutions. The value of collaborative approach that is focusing on increasing use of technologies by farmers is encouraged.