Africa’s farmers need digital technology

The South African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) represented the agriculture sector at the 46th World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, recently.

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SACAU CEO Ishmael Sunga appealed to world leaders to provide more support for the world’s farmers, particularly smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

In a statement Sunga said access to digital technology is one of the biggest shortcomings in smallholder farmer communities in Africa.

“Smallholder farmers are increasingly connected through their mobile phones and this is an opportunity to provide farmers with information,” he said.

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This includes practical production information about planting and harvesting as well as effective operations management such as irrigation and fertiliser application.

“Digital technology presents perhaps the greatest prospects to revolutionise smallholder agriculture on the widest scale, within the shortest period of time and at the lowest cost,” said Sunga.

Farmers’ organisations should also develop digital technological capabilities if they want to remain relevant to farmers, he added.