At CTA, we leverage the power of knowledge, innovation and technology, particularly information and communication technologies (ICTs), to make a difference to the lives of rural people across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
We have stepped up our efforts to encourage youth entrepreneurship, support climate-smart agriculture, and promote digitalisation to improve the productivity and resilience of agricultural value chains. CTA’s renowned publishing programme now has a far stronger online presence than in the past, providing ready access to much needed technical knowledge for millions of readers.
I am especially proud of the work we have done to inspire youth entrepreneurship. Through well-known talent competitions – such as regional Hackathons and Pitch AgriHack, held in West Africa this year – CTA encourages young innovators to showcase their skills and develop new products. Many have gone on to develop successful businesses. These are not only creating employment but providing a range of services that help hundreds of thousands of farmers to increase their productivity. This is vitally important, especially in Africa, where 60% of the population is under the age of 35.
Digitalisation has the power to transform agriculture and we see this clearly in our projects in Eastern and Southern Africa. The Market-led User-owned ICT4Ag-enabled Information Service (MUIIS) provides small-scale farmers in Uganda with agronomic tips, weather alerts and index-based insurance, all delivered via mobile phone. Within three years, the project aims to increase the yields and incomes of 150,000 farmers. Another climate-smart project in Southern Africa also provides ‘bundled solutions,’ including weather information, crop insurance and drought-tolerant maize, to a similar number of farmers.
These projects give you a flavour of what we have achieved this year with our renewed focus on the priority issues of advancing youth entrepreneurship and employment; leveraging digitalisation for productivity and resilience and promoting climate-smart farming practices.