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Role of technology in transforming the agriculture sector

As we have witnessed over the past few years, changes in global food systems raise both new opportunities and challenges.

Urbanisation and increased demand for food and fuel present new market opportunities and challenges for farmers, entrepreneurs and agribusiness in developing countries.

At the same time, the growing concerns over climate change, pollution and food safety reflect an increasing need for environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions.

This calls for agricultural innovations, renewable energy and the improved quality of foods and diets.

As many African countries continue to struggle with rising food import bills, failure to adapt to these changes may hurt the country.

However, emerging and future technologies will play a critical role in the transformation of the agriculture sector.

Automated farm equipment are likely to reduce the cost of production. This, in return, will lead to less soil compaction and erosion and boost health of soils.

There are many examples of the potential of mechanisation.

Digital technologies such as drones and autonomous agricultural and farming equipment could have considerable implications for the future competitiveness of African farmers.

These emerging technologies will improve, simplify and accelerate performances along the entire value chain, ranging from production to processing and post-harvest handling.

While these technologies may still be out of reach for the large majority of African farmers, now is the time for governments to invest.

Policies, regulations, service provision, powerful partnerships with the private sector, as well as cooperation arrangements with and for farmers will be necessary to enable and encourage the use of new technologies. 

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