The African Agricultural Technology Foundation, AATF, said mechanisation and digital solutions will boost agricultural productivity, accelerated market access, informed pricing, financing opportunities, and result-oriented extension services in Nigeria.
AATF made this known in its agricultural programme overview for African farmers, where it pointed out that the agricultural sector of Sub-Saharan Africa remains the least in terms of mechanized agricultural system compared to other parts of the world.
The overview of mechanization and digital agriculture by the Foundation also highlighted factors that need urgency by African governments to adopt mechanized and digital solutions to tackle them, which include population growth and changing lifestyles, rapid urbanization, reducing the agricultural workforce, and others.
AATF believes that technology can be a catalyst for the transformation of the agriculture sector in Africa, as it has been in other parts of the world.
AATF said: “The agricultural sector of Sub-Saharan Africa is the least mechanized in the world; farmers have on average a tenth of the mechanized tools of their peers in other developing regions. This lack of mechanization has undermined the competitiveness of African farmers, reducing their productivity and exacerbating a vicious cycle where they are unable to invest in modern machinery and in digital technology they require.
“Population growth and changing lifestyles are creating a surge in demand for food, well beyond the current capacity of the sector. The rapid urbanization of African societies adds to the urgency. As individuals increasingly move to the cities, rural labour rates are likely to rise and farms will need to do more with fewer available hands and produce ever more food to meet the swelling demand.
“Mechanisation and digital solutions offer geometric production increase, accelerated market access, informed pricing, more financing opportunities, and results-oriented extension services required to drive radical change of the sector. It is critical to not only identify appropriate mechanization and digital technologies to markets to enhance their availability, access, and proper application by smallholder farmers for improved returns”, but it also stated.
The Foundation also maintained that “The lack of mechanization is a key bottleneck to the transformation of African agriculture, which is why AATF is working to give farmers the tools to increase their productivity, investment in their farmers and access new markets.”