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Africa’s agtech growth a major opportunity for tech service providers

By , ITWeb
Africa , 13 Aug 2021

Agtech services and solutions provider MoData is looking to capitalise on strong growth forecast within Africa’s agricultural sector and the important role that technology solutions play.

According to the company agriculture accounts for 14% of Africa’s GDP, 52% of the continent’s workforce and 70%t of the population’s livelihoods.

It cites new research from Microsoft, in partnership with Africa Practice, which shows that Africa’s agricultural sector is set for exponential growth over the next decade, with agricultural output in Africa set to increase up to three times by 2030, with a projected value of US$1-trillion.

MoData adds that between 2016 and 2019, Africa’s agtech sector grew by 44% year-on-year, with the continent registering the highest number of agtech services in the developing world, reaching over 33 million smallholder famers.

The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is expected to boost intra-African trade by 49%, further driving demand for fresh produce across borders.

To facilitate and sustain this progress and growth however, support for smallholder farmers is key. While many struggle to make ends meet, through the utilisation of agtech they can play a huge role in solving the world food shortage, improving food safety and addressing food security issues, all key drivers in attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #2 of Zero Hunger.

“Our platforms combine advanced technologies to deliver insights to governments, farmers, agricultural companies and coops, aid organisations, banks and financial institutions, helping increase productivity through the power of information,” says MoData CEO Darren Turnbull. “By combining MoData’s comprehensive understanding of the economic drivers and infrastructure challenges in this sector with our expertise in the agtech and finance space, our robust solutions platforms are underscoring growth in this dynamic sector.”

“Putting simple, intuitive, effective technology into the hands of these smallholder famers’ hands is the core goal of our agtech platforms, along with providing access to financial solutions specifically created with this end user in mind.”

According to MoData, mobile connectivity is expected to grow from 45% to 55% over the next ten years, opening up agtech solutions to around 85% of smallholder farmers via both smart and feature phones.

Mitigating risk

MoData says its solutions can be used to address challenges like crop and livestock management, genomics, satellite imagery and weather tracking, anti-stock theft devices, block chain-based supply chain automation and online loan and insurance applications.

“Our platforms help our partners increase yield, reduce costs and mitigate risks for farmers,” addsTurnbull.

Registration of a farm on MoData’s platforms enables the farmer to record critical farming operations online and utilise an array of technological monitoring and information services.

This includes the use of satellite imagery and weather patterning to analyse various factors that affect the success and profitability of crops and livestock, and assist the farmer to pre-empt losses.

The platform assists with livestock management, enabling farmers to track the value chain of livestock from vaccinations and feed through to export information, to maximise animal yield and profitability. DNA testing is also available for animal health, and farmers receive regular information and easy-to-interpret data insights so that they can make informed decisions.

MoData says its agtech partners work with governments to place antenna in abattoirs, livestock markets, border crossing and other key points, and these antennae can pick up the identity of livestock that do not belong and send out a warning to authorities and farmers.

IoT technology is also used for product tracking and tracing, providing a tamper proof digital footprint. MoData’s blockchain-based export health certificate and supply chain automation solution includes Regulatory, Trade and Supply Chain documents as well as Cold Chain tracking, reducing risks and costs and ensuring efficient delivery.

“By harnessing agtech to positively impact farming in Africa and by offering solutions that address challenges within the agricultural sector, MoData is continuing to assist its customers in their journeys to digitise and automate business processes,” says Turnbull.

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