Agriculture will be essential to spurring economic growth and feeding Africa and the world, but mass-scale adoption of modern agricultural practices will be necessary. Traditionally, technical support to African farmers has been provided by state-run extension services. However, these services have been perennially underfunded and failed to deliver their full potential.
This is about to change. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is digital, and promises to be a game changer for African agriculture. Armed with mobile phones, even the remotest farmer could get real-time access to market prices, information on technologies, and expert advice on farming choices.
Together with AGRA, CIAT proposes a digital extension service for 11 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. Building an economy of scale, the digital extension service will significantly enhance information access for over 100 million farmers, and thus improve their livelihoods. The project will explicitly target farmers marginalized from existing support mechanisms.