Data Access Will Radically Transform African Agriculture, Innovation Expert Says

Data Access Will Radically Transform African Agriculture, Innovation Expert Says

Jean Claude Bastos de Morais is the founder of the African Innovation Foundation, which honors and encourages African innovation.

The Innovation Prize for Africa rewards achievements that contribute to developing new products, and increasing efficiency or saving costs in Africa. Breakthroughs are rewarded in manufacturing and service industries, health and well-being, agriculture and agribusiness, environment, energy and water and ICT.

In this guest column, Bastos de Morais expresses his frustration, excitement and insights on the state of innovation in Africa.

From ITNewsAfrica. Story by Jean Claude Bastos de Morais.

Africa’s innovators and social entrepreneurs are rearing to go, their ingenious innovations address African-specific challenges, and often also have important global relevance.

Where we fall short however is the lack of research to back up these innovations, expertise to promote knowledge transfer and funding to upscale innovative ideas into full-fledged commercialized products and services.

It’s not that we don’t have these variables in place, it’s just that they don’t sync up at present.

…Perhaps the most transformative impact of increased mobile and Internet access stands to be seen in agricultural sector, which incidentally has the highest potential to realize gains in growth and to create employment for young people.

Access to data will allow for radical transformation of Africa’s agricultural sector as rural farming communities begin to access the many agricultural innovations that are being developed by African innovators today.

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As outlined by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), higher-valued agriculture will use services more intensively, creating employment opportunities.

Demand for transport, plant protection, veterinary services, mechanized field operations, and advice can be met by young people with skills and enough capital (or leased machinery) to start small businesses.

They may be part-time farmers with small allotments of land and enough capital and skills to establish themselves as sellers of services.

Read more at ITNewsAfrica.