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CTA, in partnership with PAFO, supported representatives from four farmers’ organisations to attend the SIA held during 24-28 February, 2019 in Paris

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Technological innovations and advances in digital farming continue to evolve at a rapid pace, increasing efficiencies in farming operations globally. However, the adoption of these new technologies by small-scale farmers is still low due to poor data infrastructure and a lack of business partnerships, limiting farmer organisations from capitalising on market opportunities.

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The Innovative Cooperative for Optimal Nutrition (ICON) was launched in March 2018 in Burkina Faso by 16 Ashoka fellows, with the aim of supporting the consumption, production and trade of local, highly nutritious food products through a new collective brand. Its Director General Lamisse Kandil looks back at the efforts made to establish the ICON Africa label as a guarantee of health and nutritional quality and a model for sustainable development.

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They say that the future belongs to the young. In Africa, the future of the continent’s agriculture almost certainly belongs to its youth. More than 60% of Africans are under 25, and every year, 10-12 million young people enter the job market in search of employment. Vast numbers work in farming in rural areas – agriculture employs almost 70% of the population – but the prospect of higher wages and a more secure livelihood is driving urban migration for many others.

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Founded in 2015, BenBen is a Ghanaian-based land tenure and property tech start-up. BenBen leverages distributed ledger technology (DLT) in building digital platforms for securing land-based assets and financial transactions in African land markets. BenBen’s vision is to build the digital infrastructure to enable African economies to fully unlock the socio-economic potential of their land and create ethical land markets.

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One in four businesses generally fail before their second year, and half do not survive beyond the fifth year; a situation experienced by many youth-led agri-enterprises in Kenya. This is a concern in a country which has a very young population coupled with a high youth unemployment rate. Economically viable agribusinesses could help to address this challenge; thriving youth-led agribusinesses are vital for job creation, make agri-enterprises attractive to the youth and hence could contribute towards alleviating youth unemployment in Kenya.

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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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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.