Technology has been a great invention to agribusiness in Africa, and it contributes immensely about 7% to the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The latest report by the African Development Bank and the World Bank describes this achievement as being possible because mobile phones give people some services enjoyed in the developed world in traditional forms. Such services include but are not limited to entertainment, games, newspapers, and financial services. The access to the prices of crops in Africa by farmers can be gotten through mobile-based information services which provide up-to-date details on the current prices; therefore, the value placed on mobile phones in Africa is a bit higher than the other continents of the world.
Based on this report stated above, the area where technology can have the utmost impact is the area of agribusiness- which forms one of the largest sectors of the economies in Africa. This report further identified some number of ways by which technology can effectively help and benefit agribusiness.
4 Ways Technology Can Help Agribusiness In Africa
- Updated Market information: The lack or total unavailability of updated information on the prices of crops has been one of the most challenges smallholder farmers in Africa have had to face. However, with the invention of the Ghana-based application known as Esoko developed by BusyLab and some other similar applications, the solution to unavailability of information related to prices of crops is solved.
- Insurance on Agribusiness: Insurance in agribusiness is a key element that is paramount in developed countries which is used to address weather conditions that look uncertain. While this element is not so common to most African countries, some countries such as Kenya have a program for this- for instance, the Kilimo Salama (Swahili for safe agriculture) crop insurance made available to smallholders. The program enables them to insure their Agric inputs against situations such as uncertain weather conditions for instance drought and excessive rainfall.
- An efficient irrigation system: With an efficient irrigation system in the production of crops, the profitability in agribusiness will be increased as much as triple the current rate. An efficient irrigation system provides a regular supply of moisture to plants while also minimizing the existence of drought. Also, the farmer can achieve more than the usual one-crop-cycle per year while also dramatically improving the effective use of resources used in the production of crops. Example of this project is the one introduced by the government in Egypt which is the Integrated Water Resource Management Action Plan. The report has it that the first phase of this project increased the yield of crops by 20%.
- Traceability: In this present age, there is a growing emphasis placed on the traceability of agricultural produce. Most developed countries demand increasingly that foods that are being produced are tracked right from its origination to the entire value chain- then from the farm down to the supermarket. A relevant example of a successful program of how technology has improved traceability of agribusiness produce would be the Namibian Livestock Identification and Traceability System which the report has it that it unlocked wealth along the whole livestock value chain. The identification of animals is done through a visual plastic ear tag that supports it in many rural areas and the radio frequency identification for automated data input.
Another program that is successful in Africa is the mango traceability system that links exporters and smallholders in Mali to consumers around the globe.