April 9, 2018 | Agriculture and technology

Agriculture in Africa is the backbone of the economic system that supports food security, nutrition security, sustainable development & poverty alleviation. This sector is one of the most viable sources of livelihood capable of sustaining economic growth in the continent, it engages 65 per cent of the continent’s labor force, therefore, agricultural output in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to reduce poverty by 11 times more compared to other sectors.

The path to Agricultural transformation in Africa brings into center stage agriculture technology to propel African countries towards realizing the ambitious goals which include; ending hunger, reducing poverty, minimizing post-harvest losses, job creation for 30 per cent of youth at various levels of the agricultural value chain, and expansion of intra-African trade in agricultural commodities set by African countries.

To achieve these targets, agricultural technology must be incorporated into a farming, agricultural supply chain and production of raw materials. This also means improving and modernizing agricultural operations to make farming more profitable, efficient, safer and environmentally friendly.

Major challenges to realizing maximum agricultural productivity in  Africa is lack of improved technology, skills and capital investments among the small-scale farmers. This is aggravated rapidly changing weather which many farmers have limited ability to adapt and mitigate leading to lower production and sometimes losses.

Addressing productivity through modern technology is widely embraced in Africa, especially adopting modern agricultural inputs such as seeds, agro-chemicals, and fertilizers to reduce losses. Since the 2014 African Congress for Conservation Agriculture Congress (1st ACCA) several technological incorporated model programs aiming at assisting small-scale farmers to up-scale productivity have been adopted in Africa by different stakeholders, governments, and private sectors. An example is the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program, an initiative funded by World Bank.

In an era of information technology (IT), well-connected internet is currently revolutionizing farming sector in Africa. These advances include computerized farm machinery in the application of fertilizers and pesticides, feeding and monitoring animals by electronic sensors and identification systems. Online buying and selling of agricultural products and inputs is becoming popular in the rural Africa farming.

Through agriculture technologies in Africa, sustainable land and water management is becoming realistic and widely practiced increasing agricultural productivity, building climate change resiliency and strengthening livelihoods while protecting the environment. This also supports the flow of information and knowledge concerning modern technology in the agriculture industry.

Alternative agriculture technology bringing changes to agricultural practice, land and water management could increase food security, cut greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change.