AfDB calls for tech transfer to African farmers

AfDB president, Akinwumi Adesina. Source: AfDB

African Development Bank (AfDB) president, Akinwumi Adesina, has called for an increase and immediate technology transfer in Africa’s agriculture sector.

This comes as new technologies have the potential to transform agricultural production on the continent. “Technologies to achieve Africa’s green revolution exist, but are mostly just sitting on the shelves,” said Adesina. “The challenge is a lack of supportive policies to ensure that they are scaled up to reach millions of farmers.”

Adesina pointed to Nigeria – where policy created by the agriculture minister led to a “revolution” in rice production over just three years – as evidence that technology and strong government backing would yield positive results in the sector.

He noted that the AfDB was currently working with the World Bank, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to mobilise US$1 billion to scale up agricultural technologies across Africa under the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) initiative.

TAAT’s objective is to remove the barriers preventing farmers from accessing the latest seed varieties and technologies to improve productivity.

“With the rapid pace of growth of the use of drones, automated tractors, artificial intelligence, robotics and block chains, agriculture as we know it will change,” Adesina said.

“It’s more likely that the future farmers will be sitting in their homes with computer applications using drones to determine the size of their farms, monitor and guide the applications of farm inputs, and with driverless combine harvesters bringing in the harvest.”

He also urged African universities to adapt their curriculum to enable technology-driven farmers and to focus on agribusiness entrepreneurship.

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