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New digital era a beacon for sustainable food and nutrition security

FAO calls for innovative ways to foster agricultural growth in Africa

Photo: ©FAO/Samuel creppy

16 September 2019, Accra – Africa’s steady growth towards agricultural transformation over the past two decades can further be sustained through digital technology and innovation.

As the continent continues to leverage on digital technology to drive sustainable food systems, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) joined partners, stakeholders and development agencies to mark the 2019 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF). 

The AGRF is the world’s premier forum for African agriculture, pulling together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to discuss and commit programmes, investments and policies to achieve an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation across the continent.

This year’s forum focused on digital transformation to drive sustainable food systems in Africa as well as to set the tone for policy-makers to inculcate digital technology as critical components needed to speed up agriculture transformation and growth.

Speaking at the official opening of the Forum, the Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Abebe Haile-Gabriel, highlighted that sustained agricultural transformation will remain the pivotal force for Africa’s progress. “Strong leadership and intersectoral approach in digitizing agriculture in Africa can contribute to the fight against hunger and bridge the digital divide with its gender, intergenerational and rural-urban gaps”, he emphasized.

FAO at the forefront for digital innovation

Over the years, FAO has advocated for a sustained and creative agriculture sector by encouraging the use of digital technologies and mechanization. Digital technologies are emerging as one of the most important tools for sustainable development, and the organization has ushered in innovative ways of helping promote food and nutrition security aimed at eradicating hunger by 2030.

To curb the devastating effects of the Fall Armyworm infestation in Africa, FAO recently launched a mobile application software called FAMEWS (Fall Armyworm Monitoring and Evaluation Warning System) to help farmers detect, take action and curb the Fall Armyworm phenomenon in Africa. This mobile app evidently has contributed to the solutions needed in the agricultural sector.

FAO strongly believes that Africa has the advantage as today’s agricultural transformation is happening at a time when life-changing technologies are part of our everyday lives. This exciting development gives Africa a new opportunity to leapfrog the agricultural transformation of the past and revolutionize life by overcoming challenges, speeding up change and creating more decent jobs for young people. 

Call for action

This year’s AGRF ended with strong commitments from all stakeholders and development partners, agreeing to chart a new paradigm of integrating innovation into the agricultural value chain and to leverage on digital transformation for evidence-based decision-making and programme implementation for sustainable food systems.

In addition, the forum seeks to mobilize billions of dollars in agribusiness investment for farmers, SMEs and the private sector and provide an intraregional trade in alignment with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Finally, key stakeholders also agreed to show leadership by making policy and investment commitments to strengthen resilience in the face of climate change where African Heads of State can lead the way into the UN Climate Action Summit.

About the African Green Revolution Forum, AGRF 

The AGRF, together with its many follow-on activities, is designed to energize political will and to keep top-level agenda items, including the Malabo Declaration commitments and related indicators from the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, high on the list of Heads of State and ministers. AGRF rallies these leaders and various stakeholders around a common purpose – to unleash the full potential of Africa’s millions of smallholder farmers and agripreneurs who provide about 80 percent of the food and agricultural products consumed across the continent and generate millions of jobs and inclusive economic growth.

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