AATF explores digital agriculture solutions that could impact livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Africa

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AATF explores digital agriculture solutions that could impact livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Africa

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Access to market and increase in agricultural productivity have
been identified as the most viable areas where adoption of digital agriculture solutions
has the greatest potential to positively impact the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), according to agricultural experts.
The experts, including key stakeholders from the public and private sectors, met during
a 2-day workshop on Digital Agriculture convened by the African Agricultural
Technology Foundation (AATF) in Nairobi.
The aim of the workshop was to identify key opportunities, blockages and challenges
along the agriculture value chain and to evaluate which existing digital solutions are
most scalable in SSA and if adopted by smallholder farmers would cause the greatest
impact on their livelihoods.
Access to markets was identified as a critical area for digital agriculture solutions to
enhance linkages between producers and key value chain actors and as a result increase
revenue for farmers by enhancing their direct bargaining power in the value chain during
trade.
The participants suggested different digital solutions already in existence that could be
scaled to link farmers to markets through aggregated distribution; cooperative or
aggregated selling and mobile price information. The opportunities identified to
enhance market access included certification and quality assurance, seed trade
facilitation and quality management.
Further, the experts noted that for farmers to increase productivity value, they need to
increase their yields or produce high quality produce. To this end, farmers must purchase
and use certified seeds and fertilizers which are often expensive for individual
smallholder farmers. Thus, aggregating demand and purchases might make critical
inputs more accessible for farmers to increase their productivity.
“From the workshop deliberations, the above two opportunities were considered likely
most impactful for value chain transformation with biggest benefits on small-holder
farmers and stakeholders,” said Dr. Emmanuel Okogbenin, the Director of Technical
Operations at AATF.He added that AATF, in alignment with its new strategy (2018 – 2022), will seek to
promote digitization of the value chains to rapidly reach and deliver production
technologies to small-holder farmers with the required information needed to adequately
guide their application for better productivity and improved access to markets.
“Digital technologies for precision agriculture will be used to strengthen productive
systems to optimize resource use management, explore economies of scale to advantage
and stimulate low costs. AATF will need to ensure the right digital technologies are
targeted and facilitated to reach farmers to ensure strong impact including creating a
functional environment with necessary regulatory frameworks and policies to support
deployment, capacity building (e-literacy, and digital skills) for small holder farmers and
youths in the rural areas,” said Dr. Okogbenin.
AATF is empowering smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa with a wide
choice of agricultural innovations that generate wealth and health for their families and
communities.
Digital technologies and innovations have been identified as key solutions to
revolutionizing processes crucial for improving farmer productivity power at low cost,
support data-enabled farming, increase access to information, knowledge, input and
markets to generate more social, economic and environmental benefits for farmers.


Press-release from the African Agricultural Technology Foundation - Nairobi (Kenya), July 13, 2020


About AATF (https://www.aatf-africa.org/about-us/)
AATF is an African-led not-for-profit organization that is working towards agricultural
transformation to address food and nutrition security and generate health and wealth for
smallholder farmers through access and delivery of innovative and fitting agricultural
technologies. AATF believes that farmers in Africa will become globally competitive
through use of the best technology, optimal agricultural practices, strategic product value
addition and boosted access to efficient markets within and outside Africa.



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