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“MAKE AFRICAN FARMING SEXY,” SAYS THE AFRICAN UNION AGRICULTURAL COMMISSIONER

General News

The Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy at the African Union Commission, Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, has said leveraging digital technology and innovation will be an important tool to promote the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agenda.

The Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy at the African Union Commission, Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, has said leveraging digital technology and innovation will be an important tool to promote the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agenda.

 

To this end, she has advocated that African countries use digital technology to provide solutions to the challenges they face in agriculture.

Such a move, she said, will promote market linkages, market goods and services, ensure efficient food production, serve as an instrument for integration and make the agricultural sector more “sexy and attractive”.

She also argued that this will help achieve the aim of reducing the continent’s $2.4 billion food import bill by 2050.

Ms Sacko was speaking at the opening of this year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), which is taking place in Accra on the theme “Grow Digital: Leveraging Digital Transformation to Drive Sustainable Food Systems in Africa”.

Digital drive

Ms.Sacko implored African governments to intensify their education on technology for smallholder farmers, build the capacity of start-up businesses, train actors in agricultural enterprises on use of digital tools, and also promote social inclusion by involving women in the drive towards digital revolution.

She declared that using digital technology in agriculture has vast opportunities for farmers, as it enables them to gather accurate data on farm practice, facilitate fertiliser application, test soil to verify nutrient efficiency, manage irrigation systems and carry out topographical surveys to help overcome the continent’s infrastructure deficit.

Food and jobs

Ms Sacko said digital technology will improve supply of inputs such as seeds, machinery and fertilisers, and will enhance access to finance as well as ensure linkages between food suppliers and buyers.

She noted that experts believe that agriculture could provide livelihoods for about 75 per cent of the African population.

AU support

The AU, she hinted, has been involved in providing support to member countries through the AU Commission and its Continental Digital Strategy, which is aimed at driving the digitisation agenda.

The strategy hinges on three pillars: creating a conducive environment for digital agriculture, improving rural digital infrastructure and developing agribusiness finance services for entrepreneurs and small-and-medium scale enterprises.

This allows them to use information and communications technology to enhance productivity.

Top forum

The event is the world’s premier forum for African agriculture, pulling together stakeholders from across the agricultural landscape to discuss and commit to policies, programmes and investment to achieve an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation across the African continent.

Roughly 2,300 delegates from 79 countries in Africa and beyond are attending, including heads of state, ministers of agriculture, central bank governors, captains of industry, development partners, representatives of farmer organisations, youth entrepreneurs and other critical stakeholders.