Applying knowledge, technology to agriculture in Africa

Farmer in Field - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - FlickrAfDB is keen to involve the youth in agriculture and related businesses. (Image source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Flickr)African Development Bank (AfDB) and Netherlands-based Centre for Promotion of Exports from Developing Countries (CBI) have partnered to boost agriculture and associated trade in Africa

The two organisations will work towards viable markets for agricultural produce, which would diversify the livelihood of farmers as well as exporters. AfDB also plans to use technology to maximise productivity and thereby engage youth in agribusiness in Africa.

The programme is being billed as a knowledge-driven one-stop-shop for improved productivity, transparent and effective regional and global agricultural trade. AfDB and CBI have said that the partnership provided them the opportunity to determine the level and scope of technical support required from CBI to make the programme a success.

Africa’s regional economic communities will also be involved in the pilot project and various projects under the programme will be sequenced on the basis of the resources required.

AfDB’s agriculture and agro-industry director Chiji Ojukwu summed up the bank’s agriculture and agro-industry strategy, emphasising areas related to rural infrastructure, agribusiness innovation and resilience building and natural resource management.

“Agriculture is beginning to change. It is a business and the youth should be fully involved in it. We need to demonstrate that, through technology, we can improve productivity. We want to show the youth something concrete to enable them do business and use our resources to create wealth,” he said.

The bank’s lead agricultural expert Benedict Kanu pointed out that agriculture remained a productive sector that relied heavily on efficient, accurate and transparent interaction as well as flow of information between various players in the landscape.

“Strong links to markets for poor rural producers are essential to increasing agricultural production, generating economic growth in rural areas and reducing hunger and poverty. Improving these links would create a virtuous circle by boosting productivity, increasing incomes and strengthening food security,” he explained.

Discussions between the two organisations also focussed on the future of women in agriculture trade and value chains and the cultural constraints regarding women and property rights.

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