Experts call for faster farmer access to agro-innovations
A group of agricultural experts meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, have called for acceleration of farmer access to innovations that can sustainably increase food production as weather extremes and crop pests become more common.
“We need to move decisively to disrupt the status quo that is denying African farmers access to potentially transformative technologies,” said Dr Ousmane Badiane, chair of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) at the forum this week.
AATF hosted the event, which included senior government officials from Ethiopia, representatives from the Islamic Development Bank, and high-level representatives from the African Union and key donor countries.
The event dubbed “Catalysing African agricultural transformation through public-private partnerships” addressed some issues discussed at the global climate summit in Katowice, Poland last week, key among them the high carbon emissions from human activities, which have hit an all-time high in 2018.
“While these are times of great challenges, they are also filled with promising opportunities for African farmers,” said Dr Denis T. Kyetere, AATF’s executive director.
New App connecting farmers to each other, experts launched
A new app that will enable farmers learn from each other digitally has been launched.
Dubbed IcedYoung, the app developed at Egerton University brings together a community of agripreneurs.
Through it, members will be able to directly share experiences, lessons learnt as well as raise concerns and questions pertaining their agri-ventures.
During the launch recently, aspiring agripreneurs were trained on how to use their smart phones to shoot videos as well as recruit the first batch of IcedYoung community.
IcedYoung is a brain-child of Jackson Kiptanui, the CEO of Icedtube.com, a company that educates farmers on best farming practices.
"My aim is to help people learn from each other using videos,” says Kiptanui, adding, “I look forward to a situation of immense increase in productivity, a ripple effect in food security and an improvement in the entire lifestyle of communities.”
The videos can be broadcasted live on IcedTv, an online channel. Agricultural experts will use the platform to offer professional advice.
Kiptanui hopes to take this technology to the whole country before rolling it out across Africa.
12 trained on land restoration
Twelve entrepreneurs from seven African countries were this week in Nairobi trained and mentored on how to restore degraded and deforested land.
The conference drew land entrepreneurs from Kenya, Botswana, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Niger and Malawi.
“Restoring degraded land has the potential to become big business. At a time when the younger generation is shying away from land-based activities, these entrepreneurs are racing toward it because they see a promising business opportunity,” said Sofia Faruqi from World Resources Institute, which trained them.
According to her, more sustainable business models for agriculture and land use could be worth up to $2.3 trillion (Sh234 trillion) and could provide over 70 million jobs by 2030 around the world.
Kuki Kathomi Njeru, the Director, Marketing and Outreach Green Pot Enterprises Limited, which deals with bamboo, was among the trained from Kenya.