Why is this Important?

With the sharp increase in food demand in Africa and the World, and given the Pan African Vision of an influential Africa that is a global player and partner, the rise in agricultural productivity that is required to meet these needs will not be possible without harnessing digital and mechanisation solutions.

The agricultural sector of Sub-Saharan Africa is the least mechanised in the world; farmers have on average a tenth of the mechanised tools of their peers in other developing regions. This lack of mechanisation has undermined the competitiveness of African farmers, reducing their productivity and exacerbating a vicious cycle where they are unable to invest in the machinery and technology that they need.

Technology, from new machinery and irrigation techniques, through to new digital models for market access, pricing and financing, has the potential to drive radical changes in the sector. It is critical to identify these new technologies and models and find ways to bring them to market so that farmers – and in particular the smallholders that make up the largest part of the region’s agriculture sector – can access them.

Our contribution

  • We are focusing on increasing access to good digital/precision agriculture technologies that will enhance farmer economics, lower cost of operations and increase distribution networks for produce.

  • We help link farmers with markets to support uptake of their higher volume cassava tubers and ensure they get the best price.

  • • We work with partners to strengthen the capacity of local entrepreneurs in the maintenance and repairs of farm and processing machineries and in prototype design of machines including the manufacture of low-cost machines. We also build farmer capacity in the efficient use of agricultural machinery.

Given our belief in the ability of the smallholder to positively contribute to Africa’s agricultural transformation through use of technology, we are building the ability of farmers to do agriculture as a business through use of mechanisation and digital agriculture.

Our mechanisation model in Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia has shown capability of increasing cassava yields of small holder farmers by 300%.

We identify appropriate techniques and technologies that have been successfully employed in other regions and adapt them for the local context. Using adapted and customised machinery from Asia and Latin America, we have worked with other stakeholders to bring mechanisation to more than 8,500 hectares of cassava across the continent, and catalysed the creation of credit facilities and government funding mechanisms to allow farmers to access the finance they need to invest in mechanisation.

Mechanised and digital agriculture will reduce drudgery for smallholder farmers, develop competitive value chains and achieve future growth and poverty reduction agendas in Africa.

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