Magazine article African Business

Growth of Agritech Calls for Rapid Policy Response: Agritech Is Helping to Boost Smallholder Agriculture across Africa, but the Sector Must Be Underpinned by Policies That Protect Privacy and Make Anonymised Data Available for National Planning

Magazine article African Business

Growth of Agritech Calls for Rapid Policy Response: Agritech Is Helping to Boost Smallholder Agriculture across Africa, but the Sector Must Be Underpinned by Policies That Protect Privacy and Make Anonymised Data Available for National Planning

Article excerpt

Across East and West Africa, agritech is taking off. According to a new report from Disrupt Africa, by early 2018, there were 82 agritech startups continent-wide. Half had launched since 2016. More than 60% were in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.

In addition to this startup activity, a great deal of agritech innovation is donor-funded, fuelled by rising interest in the power of data and digital technology to transform smallholder agriculture in Africa into profitable, sustainable enterprises. It's a hopeful trend, but one that also calls for increased policy and regulatory attention to support the sector's growth and to ensure respect for the privacy and property rights of the smallholder farmers at its centre.

The new startups are diverse, and all run on data. One-third apply e-commerce to the agriculture industry, while many others offer information and knowledge-sharing platforms or deliver financial technology solutions for farmers.

One example is AgroTech. Developed by Grameen Foundation and partners, its mobile-equipped field agents and radio shows have reached more than 500,600 farmers in Ghana, bringing them up-to-date farming advice, customised farm management plans, and expanded farm input and market access. Farm.ink in Kenya is another example. It combines social media data with agricultural data from the International Fivestock Research Institute to visualise emerging livestock disease outbreaks. Its digital farmer products now send and receive millions of messages a month to more than 100,00 farmers.

Agritech innovation is fuelled by data: on smallholders' crops, finances, families, water use, farm environmental conditions and more. With this data comes opportunities, but also risks that it will sit unused, or be misused, lost, or sold without the farmer's consent. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.