New initiative seeks to equip farmers with digital skills

Wednesday August 25 2021
techpix

A drone hovers over a farm. This is one of the new technologies transforming the agriculture sector. PHOTO | COURTESY

By Ismail Musa Ladu

At least 50,000 small holder farmers and 50 cooperatives will benefit from an initiative that seeks to provide digital tools and training. 

The initiative that seeks to improve digital skills among farmers, is expected to small holder farmers in Uganda and four other countries in Africa. 

The programme, a partnership between Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative and IFC - a member of the World Bank Group – seeks to support digital transformation in Africa’s agribusiness sector, modernise supply chains and boost farmers’ productivity and incomes in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire, according to a joint statement.   The statement further noted that the partnership will include Microsoft’s KuzaBot mobile chat platform, which will speed and ease the dissemination of vital information to farmers on good agricultural and business practices. 

“Now more than ever, we need to pay close attention to how agri-tech organisations transform digitally, what challenges they face acquiring new technologies, and the daily challenges they may be facing in the area of digital skills development,” said Kendi Nderitu, Microsoft Kenya country manager. 

The initiative will invest in agri-tech to unlock Africa’s vibrant potential, accelerate innovation to enable data-driven farming that can optimise yields, boost productivity and increase profitability. 

Digital technology has been taunted as key in improving operation of supply chains in the food system through agricultural efficiency, improved business practices, traceability, food safety and, access to finance. 

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However, the use of digital tools in Africa’s agriculture remains limited, often because of infrastructure, affordability, awareness, and regulatory issues. 

Agribusiness contributes about 25 per cent of Africa’s gross domestic product and 70 per cent of its employment. 

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