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Innovative ideas for agricultural transformation

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With the aim of bringing cutting-edge technologies into the agriculture sector to help small farmers, CTA is participating in the 2017 Agriculture Technology Summit, being held from 15–17 November 2017 in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Entrepreneurs, start-up companies, scientists and farmers will be taking part in the Agriculture Technology Summit which will be highlighting the role of technology in horticulture, aquaculture and animal husbandry under the theme ‘Progressive Farmer, Smart Farming’. Other sessions will focus on tech-enabled rural advisory services and market linkages, soil information systems, digital finance, and how big data can be harnessed for small farmers.

On 16 November, CTA’s ICT4D Programme Coordinator, Ben Addom will be taking part in a high level panel session, which will be highlighting how global agricultural technology can solve local challenges for farmers. CTA’s rich global expertise and experience over the decade in the area of ICTs for smallholder agriculture in Africa Caribbean and Pacific countries has been recognised by the organisers. “I will be sharing CTA’s approach to the promotion and use of ICTs by farmers in Africa and strategies for scaling up some of the proven technologies,” he explains.

Andhra Pradesh, which is hosting the Summit, is a pioneering state when it comes to adoption and implementation of technology-driven initiatives across the agricultural value chain. The state has recently launched a smartphone-based plant diagnostics app in Telugu in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. The state’s agriculture department is also using predictive analytics based on satellite data to forecast water-stress to provide productive irrigation through rain guns, which is another technology that has been recently introduced for rain-fed farming.

With a focus on developing innovative solutions to improve the quality and coverage of key services, including agricultural development and financial services for the poor, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the summit’s knowledge partner. Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates will be attending the conference and will be the chief guest in the final summit session on 17 November.

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A farmer centric mobile app

Opening the iCow website shows, at a glance, some simple but brilliant thinking. Africa’s 1.1 billion population – including 700 million farmers and 200 million youth – 60% have access to mobile phones making mobile applications (apps) and SMS-based information services both a gateway to new types of clientele and a tool for spreading useful knowledge. This was Su Kahumbu Stephanou’s thinking behind the conceptualisation of iCow, a high performing mobile app that puts farmers and their information needs at the centre of its business strategy.

Apps4Ag Database: Raising visibility and funds for innovative applications

A new platform launched by CTA - Apps4Ag Database - provides a comprehensive, up-to-date information for investors and development practitioners who want to support the integration of ICTs in food value chains. The responsive database helps users to compare different services provided by hundreds of web, audio, video and mobile applications in the agricultural sector.

ICT has a key role to play in transforming African agriculture

Agribusiness and the digital economy are two key themes of the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum to be held on 27 November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire at which CTA facilitates a session ‘How to integrate innovative ICT into agribusiness’. The session places particular emphasis on showcasing successful examples of where CTA has played a leading role in supporting young entrepreneurs working on ICT4Ag.

Addressing finance challenges for ICT4Ag start-ups

To identify key issues affecting access to capital and profitability for ICT4Ag businesses owned by young entrepreneurs, over 30 participants, predominantly from ACP regions and the EU, gathered at the recent ICT4Ag Outlook event held in Rhenen, the Netherlands during 9-11th October. The participants included young ICT4Ag entrepreneurs involved in the AgriHack Talent programme.

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