Science-Based Solutions Key to Transforming Agriculture in Africa
Agriculture is facing a crossroads. On the one hand, we need to feed our ever-growing global population. On the other hand, we must do so sustainably and climate-resiliently.Science-based solutions may be the bridge we need to navigate this challenge. By tapping into the latest scientific knowledge and technologies, we can find new, more efficient, sustainable, and profitable ways to grow crops and raise livestock.However, there is often a big gap between the scientists in the labs and the farmers in the fields. Smallholder farmers, in particular, are often left out of the loop when it comes to innovation and need access to the latest technologies and resources.
The 2023 ANDE Conference in Ghana brought together people from different walks of life to discuss how to bridge this gap and tap into the power of science to transform agriculture.
Here are some key takeaways from the conference and panel conversation:
- Invest in ag-tech startups. These startups are developing innovative solutions to help farmers improve their productivity, profitability, and sustainability. Investing in these startups can accelerate the development and adoption of these solutions.
- Advocate for supportive policies. Governments can play a vital role in supporting the adoption of agtech solutions by developing policies encouraging investment and innovation.
- Form private-public partnerships. Private-public partnerships between agtech companies, scientific institutions, and farmers can help to bring science-based solutions to scale.
- Support local agtech companies. Local agtech companies are often best positioned to understand the needs of farmers in their communities. We can support these companies by purchasing their products and services and spreading the word about their work.
- Support efforts to bridge the connectivity gap. Access to the internet is essential for adopting digital agtech solutions. We can support efforts to bridge the connectivity gap by advocating for investment in rural broadband infrastructure.
- Encourage agribusinesses to adopt science-based solutions. Agribusinesses have the muscle and resources to adopt high-tech solutions to improve productivity, quality, and supply chains. We can encourage them to do so by advocating for sustainable and ethical agricultural practices.
One example of a local African agtech company that is making a difference is FBISTech. FBISTech is on a mission to provide digital help to smallholder farmers in Africa. They use farmers’ locations to send personalized information in their local languages via calls, SMS, or USSD. FBISTech also works with telecom partners to extend their reach to areas without network coverage.
The collaboration between FBISTech and telecom partners is a fantastic example of how science-based solutions can be localized and accessible to smallholder farmers. FBISTech is helping farmers to boost their productivity and resilience by giving them timely and relevant information.
FBISTech, TechnoServe, and the CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy Initiative prove that science-based solutions can change the game for smallholder farmers. By personalizing and targeting their solutions, these organizations are making them more accessible and relevant to the people who need them the most.
The ANDE Conference in Ghana was a timely event. It brought together key players to discuss how science-based solutions can transform agriculture. By closing the gap between science and farming, we can build a more sustainable and resilient food system for the future.
Science-based solutions are essential for transforming agriculture and feeding the world sustainably. By investing in ag-tech startups, advocating for supportive policies, forming private-public partnerships, supporting local agtech companies, and encouraging agribusinesses to adopt science-based solutions, we can create a brighter future for agriculture and our planet.