Innovative agriculture for next generation farms: Sparking youth interest in technology-driven agriculture and achieving food security
Karim Lotfi Senhadji, CEO of OCP Africa, set the scene for the discussion on helping sustainable agriculture and farming communities in Africa to develop, emphasising the important role of technology and data. The moderator, Lanre Akinola, added a second question around youth engagement and how to bring young people into the agri-business sector—not just in Africa but also in Europe. The debate was preceded by a presentation of Zenvus by its founder, Ndubuisi Ekekwe and another presentation by Joseph Wozniak on connecting the buyers and retailers with farmers. Ndubuisi Ekekwe set firmly that the overriding objective must be to change Africa so that it becomes an innovative society instead of an inventive society. Value addition must be at the core of the needed transformation.
The presentation on Zenvus stirred a lively debate on farming data that is generated by the technology, on technology uptake and engaging young people. Data empowers rural farmers with real-time produce prices across cities and it provides them a platform to sell their produce. It provides farmers with data to effectively negotiate prices with merchants. It helps farmers raise capital (loan or equity) by providing independent farm data to help banks and investors evaluate overall profitability of farms, or crowdfund capital from local donors. It helps farmers insure their farms by providing independent farm data to insurers. This helps them evaluate the risks based on actual farm data. The technology gives farmers an electronic farm diary that records all phases of farming from planting through harvest to sales, in addition to keeping all records – financial, staff, tools, etc in one secured place.
Karim Lotfi Senhadji, CEO, OCP Africa (Bio)
Kanayo F Nwanze, Member of the Global Agenda Council on Food Security, World Economic Forum (Bio)
Michael Hailu, Director, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (Bio)
Maira Dzelzkalēja, VP Latvian Farmers Parliament (Bio)
Josephine Okot, Founder & MD Victoria Seeds Ltd (Bio)
Dr Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Founder & Chairman, First Atlantic Semiconductors & Microelectronics Ltd (Fasmicro) (Bio)