In boosting agricultural output and solving agric related business challenges, improved and consistent adoption of digital solutions and advanced technology by farmers is necessary especially with the support of the government according to a global consulting firm, McKinsey & Company.
In its Agriculture Practice report titled “How digital tools can help transform African agri-food systems” Mckinsey revealed that digital technologies are equipped to improve and transform agri-food systems in emerging markets by accelerating the activities of key players across the sector, however, the possibility of this is constrained due to the poor adoption of advanced technology and digital solutions by farmers.
According to the report, in Sub-Saharan Africa, over 400 digital agricultural solutions focused on market linkage, advisory, financial services, information, etc. are available however this does not guarantee smallholder farmer uptake and adoption as most of these solutions have less than 30 percent of active users, thereby limiting the potential impact of digital solutions on agricultural activities.
“Higher-income for farmers, increased output and improved food security are among the benefits of utilizing digital tools in an agricultural setting, however despite their abundance, many digital solutions struggle to scale and fail to improve the lives of farmers and other end-users,
Beyond low adoption, governments often face broader challenges to scale. These include issues like uneven digital access and digital literacy in their populations, low data accuracy and usability, and limited tailoring of content for local contexts,” the report stated.
The report recommends that in improving the adoption of digital solutions among farmers, the government should enable technologies to flourish by providing core digital & data infrastructure and regulation, furthermore, digital solutions must be incentivized to attract end-users, and farmers should receive access to agricultural knowledge with direct interaction with extension officers.
“Employing digital solutions can be a powerful way to accelerate agricultural transformation if they are designed to directly support outcomes such as increasing smallholder farmer incomes and are not seen as isolated digitization efforts.
Governments that are committed to digital agricultural solutions have seen or expect to see distinctive results in their agricultural transformation outcomes. When used as part of a national agricultural-transformation program, digital tools could help raise the incomes of smallholder farmers, increase crop output, and support food security” the report added.
Experts affirm that in line with global standards, advanced technology and digitalization serve as a propeller for economic growth adding that slow adoption of advanced technology and digitalization constrains the possibility of expansive growth in the economy.
SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY