Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

New reports from AFDB, FAO and CGIAR showcase digital agriculture opportunities

26 April 2021. Drones, satellites, geographic information systems, weather stations and advanced analytics are some of the most promising technologies for providing solutions to Africa's agricultural challenges, according to the joint Digital Agricultural Profiles carried out by the African Development Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and CGIAR in three countries.

The profiles, covering Côte d'Ivoire, Rwanda and South Africa, map the challenges and opportunities to scale the adoption of innovative digital technologies in the agriculture sector. These include national digital technology and the policy landscape, user demands along the value chain and available digital agriculture services and applications. The profiles also examine the main barriers to adoption as well as the digital technologies with the greatest potential to transform the sector.

The series is based on the concept of the Climate-Smart Agriculture country profiles developed by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. The methodology was designed in close collaboration with the World Bank Group.

The applications of digital technology in agriculture are diverse. For example, using satellite data, farmers can monitor crop health, soil quality and water and fertilizer usage. Sensors, automation and machine learning allow for the adaptation of more precise agricultural operations for specific locations and conditions. Digital payment systems, index insurance and mobile platforms help connect farmers to markets and financial services.

Profile highlights:
  • Rwanda: Up to 85% of rural consumers will have access to basic mobile phone services in the next five years.
  • Côte d’Ivoire: Access to digital technologies rose sharply in the last decade; nearly everyone in the working-age population now has mobile phone access, and nearly half of Ivorians use the internet.
  • South Africa: Precision agriculture is strongly adopted by large-scale commercial farmers; blockchain, barcoding and fleet tracking solutions offer unique benefits for the traceability of agricultural products.

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