Enhancing next-generation ACP agribusiness through digitalisation
Digitalisation in its many forms is fast spreading across all aspects of agriculture in developing countries, transforming and disrupting the ways food is produced, traded and consumed. However, do innovative digital solutions improve the performance, competitiveness and profitability of farmer-oriented agribusinesses in ACP countries? Thirty practitioners attending a CTA workshop zoomed in on real cases to test this question, assessing what works, how and why and drawing out insights and lessons – actionable knowledge – for wider application which are detailed in this CTA technical brief.
Overcoming challenges to digital agribusiness start-ups
The CTA workshop on ‘catalysing actionable knowledge to enhance next-generation ACP agribusiness through digitalisation’ identified five intersecting drivers that explain what farmer-oriented agribusinesses expect to achieve by investing in digitalisation: reduced risk, raised productivity, increased efficiency, improved decisions, and enhanced market access. Participants argued that digital interventions all serve one or more of these, depending on specific local needs and situations. A critical factor underpinning what works in all of these areas is the economic sustainability of the business models used to deliver value and services as further outlined in this brief.
Making agriculture attractive to young people
Drawing from current practice, this CTA brief proposes several ways to make agriculture more attractive to young people, including: promoting farming in schools; having young farmers act as demonstrators and role models for other young farmers; encouraging and supporting youth champions and proactively communicating positive perceptions of agriculture as a career; seeking out and promoting attractive and profitable modern farm technologies as well as emerging opportunities along the entire value chain; and using digital technologies as entry points that match the interests of the next generation. Critical in all of this is to encourage the shift from subsistence to business, so young people see and can experience brighter futures in agri-food chains.
Creating jobs for rural youth in agricultural value chains
This CTA brief argues that youth-inclusive investments to modernise the agricultural sector will unleash its huge potential, offer attractive employment opportunities and create a level playing field for rural girls and boys. It sets out several youth-inclusive approaches that will help agricultural value chain development programmes meet the needs of young people. These include different approaches for different classes of youth; helping young people understand and respond to markets; making youth aware of job opportunities in agriculture; building the capacities of young people; facilitating their access to finance and land; and building social capital and networks.
Engaging youth in policy processes on agriculture and agribusiness
This brief argues that policymakers in ACP countries must engage with young people to ensure that the policy environment reflects their interests and makes the sector attractive to them. Policies that work for and with youth are more likely to attract young people to the sector, injecting dynamism, growth and transformation. Key actions include: setting up platforms and mechanisms for youth to engage in policy-making and to access employment opportunities; extend and improve consultative processes in rural areas; review existing policies with youth; proactively strengthen participation of young women in rural organisations and institutions; and strengthen the capacities of youth organisations to make their voices heard.
Women and digitalisation in agriculture
Research and statistics state that women constitute around 40% of the agricultural labour force in the ACP region and while they make essential contributions to rural economies and the growing advancements in digitalisation – the gender gap in access to ICTs continue to widen. This means women farmers, particularly in rural areas, experience difficulties accessing information, financial products and services and markets. They also often do not participate in relevant policymaking. See the latest issue of ICT Update for further resources on women and digitalisation in agriculture.
Making climate-smart agriculture work for women farmer and entrepreneurs
Participants at the CTA workshop on delivering climate-smart agriculture were introduced to a ‘Reach, Benefit, and Empower’ framework that classifies interventions according to the extent they are able to increase the participation of women (REACH), strengthen the returns they get from their efforts (BENEFIT), and/or strengthen women’s ability to make strategic life choices, and put those choices into action (EMPOWER). https://bit.ly/2Mp0Yns
French version at: https://bit.ly/2Zu9F5J
Digitalisation in climate-smart agriculture
Using innovative ICT tools and working through key partnerships, CTA’s climate-smart agricultural (CSA) solutions project for cereal and livestock farmers in Southern Africa aims to provide small-scale farmers at risk from climate change with greater access to information and strengthened capacity in order to effectively adopt CSA solutions.
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by Samwel Rutto
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