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Nairobi. – The next phase of agricultural transformation needed to increase food security and rural incomes in sub-Saharan Africa will be achieved by adopting new technologies and innovations, experts said on Friday. Speaking at the Disruptive Agricultural Technology conference held in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, politicians and experts say that greater acceptance of digital platforms by African small owners is key to increasing yields.

"Technology is key to increasing the efficiency, productivity and competitiveness of agriculture in the African continent," said Hamadi God, Secretary General of the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture.

"We should invest in ICT to better serve our farmers, ensure they have access to real-time information on agricultural products, weather patterns, markets, and convenient storage," he added. Kenya hosts a two-day Conference on Digital Agriculture Technology, Innovation and Challenges involving policy makers, scientists, industry executives and founders of agricultural startups to explore new innovations that can transform the farming of small holdings in Africa.

The conference sponsored by the World Bank and the consortium of international research organizations will culminate by the allocation of initial capital to outstanding local agro-technological startups transforming the lives of small farmers.

Edson Mpyisi, chief financial economist at the African Development Bank (AfDB), said technologies such as mobile phone applications, large data, unmanned aerial vehicles, and artificial intelligence, if tapped, could provide a permanent solution to the crisis of hunger and malnutrition on the continent .

He urged African governments to give priority to regulatory reforms to boost investment in technologies that require increased yields on crops and agricultural revenues in the midst of climate shocks, reducing pressures on the cultivated areas and the population.

Sri Bharatam, founder of Nairobi-based social entrepreneurship, Kuza Biashara, said that African countries could influence the digital revolution to reorganize agricultural value chains and make them resistant to extreme weather and market instability. – Xinhua


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