Data now to inform funding of World Bank projects

By Graham Kajilwa | Feb 09, 2023

A section of the wetland where the Matunwa Dam will be constructed. The project is funded by World Bank at a cost of Sh34 million. [Stanley Ongwae, Standard]

Data will now inform how the World Bank funds projects in the agricultural sector

World Bank Group Global Lead, Data and Digital Agriculture Parmesh Shah said every future project the Washinton-based lender funds will have a data component in the wake of climate change.

The data, he said, should be recent enough to inform the role the financier will play in the project.

"We will not design any new project now without a data and digital component in it. It is so important that data and digital have to be an integral part," said Mr Shah.

Shah, who spoke at the opening of the ongoing Africa-Korea AgTech (agriculture technology) Innovation Challenge in Nairobi, said the current challenges in the agricultural sector cannot be tackled using outdated data.

"We have climate change now happening in a big way, and if we use outdated data we will get outdated results in agriculture," he said.

AgTech refers to any innovation used across the value chain to improve efficiency, profitability and sustainability. It includes hardware and software, business models, new technologies and new applications.

Artificial intelligence

Shah lauded Kenya for being a disrupter in AgTech despite the challenges the country has faced in the recent past, including the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was one of the high-profile guests at the event, who included Ugandan Minister for Agriculture Frank Tumwebaze.

Agriculture Secretary Josephat Muhunyu read Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi's remarks.

Linturi noted that digital technologies, data analytics, artificial intelligence, digitally delivered services and apps are changing the agriculture ecosystem.

"These technological advancements can support the goal of achieving more resilient productive and sustainable agriculture as well as food systems that better meet consumer needs," he said.

Linturi said the sector can benefit from various World Bank programmes, including the Disruptive Agriculture Technology (DAT), an initiative targeting 175,000 farmers along the agriculture value chain.

The summit, which ends today, will culminate in the awarding of three tech startups.

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