Agriculture has been the backbone of African economies for centuries, but only recently have we seen an explosion in agribusinesses driven by technology and innovation.
FARA’s Africa Agriculture and Science Week AASW8), under the theme: Linking Science, Innovation, and Agri-Business for Resilient Food Systems aims at providing the necessary platform for agribusinesses to take advantage of available technology and innovation.
AASW8 will hold from June 5th – 8th, 2023 at the International Conference Centre, Durban, South Africa. The event aims at strengthening partnerships between innovators, researchers, technology developers, the private sector, investors and policy-makers. The event is expected to host at least 1,000 delegates, with over 65% being international participants.
It will also feature an opening plenary session which shall include a high-level panel session and award of the FARA Leadership prize for Advancing Science and Innovation in Agriculture; plenary sessions, parallel session, side events (workshops) focusing on the event’s theme and on how to harness opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), a broad-based Agritech Expo, research-to-business match-making sessions, and an investment forum.
Agribusinesses encompass a wide range of activities including growing, harvesting, transporting, marketing and selling agricultural products. These businesses can vary in size from small family farms to large corporations with extensive supply chains.
With a growing population and increased demand for food, it’s no surprise that African entrepreneurs are leveraging cutting-edge technologies to overcome traditional barriers to entry.
Agribusiness is an essential industry that plays a significant role in Africa’s growth prospects while offering numerous entrepreneurial opportunities along its value chain.
In recent years, technology has revolutionized the agribusiness industry through innovations like precision agriculture which optimizes crop yields using data analysis. Agritech start-ups have also emerged providing solutions that address challenges faced by farmers such as access to finance and information sharing platforms.
Technology has played a significant role in the growth and success of agribusinesses in Africa. The use of innovative technologies such as precision agriculture, big data analytics, and mobile applications have transformed the way farmers interact with their crops, animals and the markets. Technology has also made it easier for farmers to increase their productivity while reducing costs.
Livestock management has also been revolutionized by technology through the use of sensors that track animal health status, behaviour, nutrition intake levels among other things. This helps farmers identify potential health issues before they escalate into more significant problems.
E-commerce platforms have made it possible for smallholder farmers to access markets beyond their immediate local areas while providing consumers with fresh produce at affordable prices.
Innovations and Technological advancements continue shaping the future of agriculture globally whilst opening up new opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to invest in Agribusinesses across Africa.
The collaboration between businesses and innovators through research forums and events like AASW8 has been crucial to the development of these technologies. It is therefore essential for governments to invest in research institutions that support technological advancements within agricultural sectors.
Successful technology-driven agribusinesses such as Twiga Foods, Apollo Agriculture, and Farmcrowdy are proof that investment in innovation can lead to increased productivity, improved food security for communities, job creation opportunities, and overall economic growth on the continent.
However, the question remains: Are there enough opportunities for these businesses to meet with innovators? While progress has been made in recent years, more needs to be done. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of platforms like the Africa Agriculture and Science Week (AASW8) that bring together businesses and innovators on the African Continent.