Make your year-end gift today.
And double your impact with a dollar-for-dollar match.Give Today
Posted on 10/25/2021
Digital technologies have strong potential to support the transformation of agriculture, building a resilient, sustainable and inclusive agrifood system.
As key enablers, digital innovations can play a catalytic role – especially in the wake of COVID-19 – by improving the capacity of small-scale producers (SSPs) to adapt to external shocks and increasing productivity and profitability. With more than 33 million smallholder farmers already registered on such platforms, sub-Saharan Africa alone has seen a rapid increase in the adoption of digital solutions, recording an annual growth of 44% over the three-year period ending in 2018.
Despite a rapid expansion of the digitalization for agriculture (D4Ag) sector across low-and-middle income countries, the reach and sustainable use of D4Ag solutions remains fairly low, especially among SSPs. Only 13% of smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa are registered for any digital service and far fewer are actively using such services. Inadequate access to the Internet and digital services, coupled with issues of affordability, disability and a growing digital divide, are among factors that have widened the disconnect.
One of the main barriers holding back investment in D4Ag solutions and their impact at scale is lack of cost-effective ways of comparing and contrasting solutions, and making informed decisions on which ones will really work.
Several organizations are addressing these challenges by creating the Digital Agri Hub, which collects data on digital solutions worldwide to track the evolution of digitalisation in agriculture and provide insights on its impact. The Digital Agri Hub is hosted by Wageningen University & Research and is being developed in partnership with GSMA, Grameen Foundation and the Netherlands Advisory Board for Impact Investment.
"It is essential to work with existing D4Ag networks and communities of practice to understand how best to connect them to the Hub," said Gigi Gatti, Director, Technology for Development, Grameen Foundation.
It is Digital Agri Hub’s firm intention to truly act as a hub, bringing partners together, creating capacity and connecting actors to one another, helping them to share their insights and best practices towards inclusive agricultural transformation.