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Since 2016, CTA has been working with farmer organisations in Burkina Faso, Fiji, Kenya, Lesotho, Samoa, Swaziland, Trinidad, and Tobago and Uganda, to implement their Data for Agriculture (Data4Ag) project. The aim of the project is to investigate how the collection and effective management of farmer data can be used by farmer organisations to improve the livelihoods of their members.

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Building consensus among a wide range of players will play a critical role in shaping sustainable solutions for Pacific problems, and ensuring a sense of ownership for new policies and strategies. That is the message from a side event to the Pacific Week of Agriculture (PWA), "Building resilience in Pacific agri-food/nutritious systems: Towards regional alliances for action".

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The second Pacific Week of Agriculture (PWA) explorse how dynamic partnerships can help to address some of the major challenges facing the agri-food sector in small island states in the region. Being held in Apia, Samoa from 30 September to 4 October 2019, the theme of PWA 2019 is "Enhanced partnerships for sustainable agriculture and forestry systems in the Pacific". The event follows the inaugural Pacific Week of Agriculture held in Vanuatu in October 2017.

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With decision EX.CL/Dec. 986-1007 (XXXII), the African Union (AU) has established one of the most important incentives for its member states – to use drones to boost Africa’s development and accelerate transformation on the continent. Indeed, drones have been used to solve many development problems in the fields of agriculture, health, infrastructure monitoring, surveying and soil mapping, among others, and have the potential to find further application.

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To enhance interaction and networking among African women in agribusiness and potential investors and trade partners, a B2B trade fair was recently held by the VALUE4HER initiative in Nairobi, Kenya. Sabdiyo Dido describes the aims and outcomes of the event.

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In the Pacific islands, where the population is expected to double by 2050, there is an urgent need for youth to become entrepreneurial and creative risk-takers to help develop innovative, and environmentally sustainable, agricultural economies. But, although more than half of the South Pacific population (10 million) is under 25 years-old, these young people are experiencing problems in entering both formal and informal labour markets. Each year, 16,000 highly skilled Pacific islanders leave their countries for better paid jobs.

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Data-driven services have the potential to effectively propel agricultural innovations and contribute to the sustainability of food systems. But despite a continuous increase of initiatives facilitating common data exchange in agriculture, a lack of legal and policy frameworks continues to hamper ownership, control and access of data.

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Providing the opportunity for investors to fund a farm, empower small-scale farmers and share in their returns, farmignite is helping to increase Nigeria’s farm productivity, reduce food importation, and increase revenues for farmers and investors.

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Cassava production and processing in Nigeria generates large quantities of hazardous wastes and residues. Aside from the environmental hazards, such wastes contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. An innovative climate-smart intervention in Nigeria is to re-use the cassava peels in animal feeds. This reduces the demand for maize for feed, creates new business opportunities from waste, reduces the hazards of the waste and reduces GHG emissions.

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Integrated crop-livestock systems that provide synergies towards more resilient climate-smart agricultural production systems are possible despite the recognised competition between crops and livestock enterprises. To make this work, it is necessary to understand the trade-offs and capitalise on the opportunities provided through integration.

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The increasing buzz on blockchain technology has, in recent times, drawn attention to its application within the agriculture sector. The technology can be leveraged upon to improve agriculture efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, including intra-ACP business transactions and transactions between ACP and international business stakeholders.

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Four Senegalese start-ups have received coaching and help in drawing up business growth plans from Ernst & Young (EY), as part of the AgriHack Talent initiative. Here, we look back at a successful pilot project that bodes well for fruitful collaboration among CTA, a leading international consulting firm, and promising new businesses.

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While the history of agricultural cooperatives in Central Africa since the 1980s has been marked by many failures, mainly linked to weak institutional governance and the lack of any economic response to the needs of local operators, the last 10 years have seen the emergence of a much more positive trend. Cooperatives are gradually modernising and becoming more professional. Establishing a farmers’ cooperative and associative movement in this region is a key prerequisite for agricultural development.

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A recurring question in agricultural development is how to transition successful donor-funded initiatives into self-sustaining, smallholder-focused businesses. One of CTA’s most innovative digitalisation projects, the Market-led, User-owned ICT4Ag-enabled Information Service (MUIIS), is proving it can be done.

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Agriculture accounts for 70% of employment on small farms and occupies half of all land area in Uganda, providing half of all exports and one-quarter of the country’s GDP. It is considered a leading sector for future economic growth and economic inclusion in the current National Development Plan. Coffee remains the leading agricultural export commodity in the country and is expected to greatly contribute towards the realisation of the 2040 national vision.

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Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are promoted as an equaliser of opportunities – but this is not always the case for women. Several African initiatives are demonstrating the critical contribution that information and knowledge can make to increase agricultural productivity and run a profitable agribusiness.

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A major concern for smallholder farmers at the start of each season is to choose and source seeds, and with the advent of climate change, this is more critical than ever. As part of a CTA-led initiative to help farmers counter drought and other extreme weather events, seed fairs are being organised in Zambia to improve access to quality seed of stress tolerant maize varieties for smallholder farmers.

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The stage is set for the 2019 iteration of the Pitch AgriHack competition. 20 judges have completed the evaluation of semi-finalist start-ups and have selected the finalists. The judges are industry experts (ICT and agriculture), entrepreneurs and investors coming from Africa and beyond.