The collaboration will support AGRA’s digital transformation as it works to improve food security for 30 million farming households across 11 countries, including Ghana, by 2021.
This was announced at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) held in Accra recently.
Through the partnership, Microsoft and AGRA will explore uses of big data and artificial intelligence in enabling data-driven, precision farming that increases farm productivity and profitability.
It will also support farmers in adopting new technologies through digital training content, develop digital skills in agriculture through an internship programme and support policy advocacy and government engagement around the design of national agriculture digitisation strategies
This partnership forms part of Microsoft’s ongoing investment in agritech across the continent.
“Agriculture is a priority sector of investment for us, not only because it sustains some 70 per cent of livelihoods, but because we believe technology can significantly contribute to the transformation of the sector,” Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of Microsoft 4Afrika said in a statement.
“Africa has a large number of farmers with varying farming practices. We believe technology can augment this knowledge to improve crop yields. Using Microsoft-enabled IoT technology, organisations like SunCulture have helped farmers increase crop yields by 300 per cent, and increase income for farmers,” she said.
According to AGRA, the biggest hurdle to increasing farmer productivity in Africa today is the continued use of outdated production technologies and practices. Farmers are only likely to adopt new technologies when they are useful, affordable and available locally.
As a result, the digitilisation of African Agriculture Report found that 90 per cent of the market for digital services that support African smallholders remains untapped, and could be worth more than US$2.26 billion.
“We’re excited to work with AGRA in building locally-relevant technology solutions that are mindful of challenges local farmers face, offering solutions to farmers and policy makers alike to deliver meaningful impact,” she said.
BY TIMES REPORTER