Across the African continent, smallholder farmers contribute significantly to food security in their countries, accounting for the majority of the food consumed. However, the desire to produce more food on less land has resulted in these farmers transitioning into unsustainable farming practices that have affected the soils. This calls for innovative solutions and models to improve access to knowledge and information. Data and digitisation hold the key to success.
Agriculture can and should not be left behind in these digitization age. We should incorporate ICT not as an independent initiative in agricultural practices but as a core fabric enabling each of these activities. ICTs can streamline most of the challenges along the value-chains eg access to knowledge on markets, market linkages, crop management, access to financing and insurance services.
Knowledge remains one of the biggest challenge preventing modernisation of smallholder farming in Africa. By improving knowledge dissemination to these farmers, we increase their ability to be economically attractive, able to make better decisions and reduce production risks!
There is a growing demand for food, yet the young population who have the energy, diverse skills and technologies to modernize farming are not yet fully engaged in agriculture. We, the young population, have an opportunity to transform agriculture by driving technology uptake and innovation in the sector. We need to take advantage of our boredom and frustration from the current state and adopt technologies that can make us more resilient to the very challenges that have kept us away from agriculture. Interestingly, as we lower the average age of a farmer, we easily spearhead a shift from poor low-tech production to better and profitable approaches to farming. We enhance knowledge-based, skill-driven farming, become climate resilient and move to sustainable food production.
Its true that the majority of the world’s poor are farmers, and these explains why solving the poverty problem shall begin with fixing the agricultural sector especially among the small scale farmers. Poverty increases chances for poor sanitation, poor nutrition, ignorance and even reduces the human resilience to effects of global climate change, thus, there is need to first struggle to jump-start the journey out of poverty by supporting the very simple and basic source of economic development of the worlds poor, farming.We have to agree that the knowledge that fed the world population 100 years ago can not feed the current population.