Establishing an enabling environment with appropriate policies, regulations, institutions, and markets to drive the adoption of innovations is key to building agricultural resilience in Africa, said the executive director of African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Dr. Canisius Kanangire.
He stated this at a panel session on ‘resilience and adaptation’ during the 11th African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) virtual summit 2021, pointing out that it was also critical to encourage creation of enduring public-private partnerships to facilitate platforms through which technology and accompanying knowledge could be transferred to farmers.
The panel session highlighted global experiences in building resilience to help address vulnerability and risks that have exacerbated food insecurity and poverty in Africa.
Kanangire noted that many technologies and products that enhance productivity have been developed and deployed but some still largely remain on research shelves, even though evidence shows that countries that have utilised advanced agricultural innovations have met their food and nutritional security needs.
“Knowledge about such technologies is critical for technology transfer and adoption to realise agricultural transformation in Africa, but an unfavorable environment that does not support development and release of innovative technologies is a hinderance to getting technologies to farmers,” said Kanangire.
He added that to ensure optimum benefit for both human and the environment, the technologies and products need to be stewarded properly for quality assurance to support value chain actors such as seed companies, agro-dealers and the farmers.
Kanangire shared the AATF experience with the DroughtTEGO maize varieties where use of technology demonstration and knowledge dissemination led to adoption rates of 39-55 per cent and an increase in farmers’ income by 66–73 per cent in Kenya. DroughtTEGO, he said, was developed through the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project, that aimed at enhancing resilience and adaptation to climate change.
To ensure these technologies are delivered to farmers and using digital solutions to ease access to services, Kanangire noted that AATF and its partners have developed and promoted digital applications to facilitate knowledge transfer and traceability.
“Agri-Drive App that facilitates access to agricultural mechanisation has been used to assist farmers to book and pay for mechanisation services especially during this period of COVID-19 pandemic,” he pointed out.
According to the session, food insecurity and poverty in Africa are primarily driven by multiple shocks and risks that include conflicts, climate extremes, and disease outbreaks, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement by the communications officer, East and Southern Africa, AATF, George Achia, said the panellists called on governments and agricultural sector players to strategically collaborate to address the challenges to improve farming productivity within the continent.