How digital can increase productivity, access to inputs, services and markets in the agricultural sector

AGRF 2020

The panelists explored the contours of the contribution of digital in increasing productivity, access to seeds and markets in the agricultural sector

The panelists are unanimous on one observation: the use of satellite,  drones or GPS makes it possible to accelerate agricultural transformation, and thus boost productivity. Deepti Mathew, chief operating officer of IGNITIA, a specialist on tropical weather forecasting, explained how the provision of meteorological information makes it possible to have farming systems adapted to the needs of farmers in Ghana, Nigeria and Mali.  “With a degree of accuracy around 84%, our data transmitted via e-mail and in local languages ​​allows farmers to decide the type of seed and the period of sowing and harvesting. We have then found that it induces an increase of the production of 20 to 25% for smallholders of these countries “, explains Mrs Deepti.

Jehiel Oliver, CEO of Hello Tractor, relying on the expertise and experience of his company, said that digital will change the face of African digital agriculture. “It helps us to be more efficient. For example, we have data on farmers’ behavior such as growing periods, agronomic and rainfall conditions that can be disasters for agricultural campaigns. The digital system really helps farmers to anticipate this,” he says.

Faced with the growing demand for food due to demographics, we could have deficits of 60%, says Martin Fregene.  “We need to improve smallholder access to fertilizers, quality seeds and the market,” says Fregene. Believing that digital is the African age, he notes, however, that the challenge is to know how the mobile boom can help revolutionize agriculture. “We have four million farmers who have mobile phones in Uganda.  There are 5 million mobile transactions in Togo, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, which is interesting, and I think that digital will strengthen this system around farmers, including funding “he said.

An idea shared by Omary Mgumba, Deputy Minister for Agriculture of Tanzania, “Politicians use it to make an impact, and development banks can create a regulatory framework to streamline information and access to finance for African producers,” he says. For him, 90% of farmers can improve the productivity of their farms through digital crop management, which ensures the resilience of farmers such as soil mapping.

Karim Lotfi Senhadji, CEO of OCP Africa explains his firm deploys a digital strategy related to evolution. “We need low-cost data scanning and management to promote the supply chain in agriculture, and with technology farmers will no longer be isolated but connected to the world. We have digital applications to make crop forecasts “. OCP has signed an agreement with the Ghana Ministry of Agriculture for the construction of fertilizer production plant and sees digitization the key to African agriculture transformation.