The COVID-19 pandemic has stopped progress on a major factor of the economy in Africa: agriculture. Farmers can only use 6% of Africa’s land to plant and grow crops. However, the agriculture industry in Africa employs 67% of the continent’s citizens. Each country in Africa contributes 30% to 60% of its GDP and about 30% of the value of exports to agriculture each year. Thanks to the pandemic, this crucial piece of the puzzle has started to disappear. New ideas, like pursuing agricultural technology in Africa, have helped keep production going to provide food to the continent.
Africa’s Supply Chains
Issues like food contamination, falsified medications and the loss of stock on certain products have heavily affected supply chains in Africa. According to KDHI-Agriculture, the pandemic only emphasized these issues. National lockdowns stopped the operations of many organizations, which held up supply chains. No new problems came from the pandemic stalling operations, so new solutions can help recover Africa’s agriculture industry.
Agricultural Technology in Africa
Agricultural technology in Africa is not just limited to one area. There are plenty of different technologies that are helping solve the slowing of production. Traceability technology is helping increase transparency within supply chains, tracking items from start to finish. As a result, higher-ups can track a product from its start as a raw material to the final product that ships from a factory or farm.
This increase in information about the product not only helps decision-making but also speeds up the supply-and-demand process. Many different technological processes go into this, like blockchain, artificial intelligence and collaborative platforms. As a result, it is clear that Africa is serious about rebuilding its economy.
In 2020, 295 of the 437 active digital agriculture services in Africa had a devotion to finances and advising. Only 16 of the services went toward smart farming. Items like traceability technology only account for 4% of these agricultural services. The Leibniz University of Hanover in Germany saw that agricultural technology in Africa is effective in helping the agriculture industry, so the university created a project to help to further develop this technology.
Leibniz University‘s UPSCALE Project
The UPSCALE project began in November 2020 and helps expand push-pull technology across whole fields and regions so that problems like food security resolve. The project also helps the environment. In the end, projects like these will help develop solutions and tools for increasing farm incomes in sustainable farming systems.
Looking past the pandemic, Africa is still dealing with high rates of poverty, with 36% of the population living in extreme poverty and 20% of the population dealing with hunger. Agricultural technology in Africa will help feed many people more efficiently. Hopefully, the UPSCALE project will attract more international attention and will help Africa’s agriculture industry in the long term.
– Matt Orth
Photo: Wikimedia Commons