By Opija Raduk
The African continent possesses vast untapped potential to feed the world; however, this remains largely unrealized due to critical challenges faced by the agricultural sector.
Speaking during the press launch of the African Conference on Agricultural Technologies (ACAT), Dr. Canisius Kanangire, the Executive Director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) said that the lack of advanced agricultural technology and poor infrastructure are significant roadblocks impeding Africa’s agricultural progress.
The limited access to modern farming techniques, such as precision agriculture and smart irrigation systems, is hampering the continent’s efforts to boost food production and meet the increasing demand for sustenance, he said.
“Africa’s farmers need access to cutting-edge technologies to overcome the challenges posed by climate change and other factors affecting agricultural productivity,” stated Dr. Kanangire. “Without the proper tools and techniques, maximizing crop yields and achieving food security will remain elusive.”
Among the prominent challenges faced by African farmers is the lack of access to quality fertilizers. He pointed out that many farmers suffer losses as they cannot obtain the best fertilizers available in the market.
To address this, Dr. Kanangire said there should be a steady supply of affordable and effective fertilizers to improve agricultural output and ensure food availability.
Besides, he noted that poverty within rural farming communities restricts their ability to invest in modern agricultural practices and access improved seeds, thus, to enable smallholder farmers to harness their full potential, comprehensive policies that address financial inclusion and rural development are crucial.
Dr. Kanangire also called for the need to avail improved and genetically modified seeds to substantially enhance crop yields and resilience to pests and diseases. He stressed the importance of empowering farmers with the right seeds to maximize their productivity and contribute to food security in the region.
Meanwhile, the Government of Kenya and AATF will host the inaugural ACAT from 30 October 2023 to 3 November 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya.
ACAT will serve as the premier platform for advancing African agricultural technology transfer and advocating for the uptake of innovations.
The 2023 conference advocates for agricultural technology transfer, uptake of innovations and practical solutions to address challenges facing the agricultural sector in Africa.
ACAT will highlight the centrality of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) in fostering agricultural transformation in Africa. It will bring together government representatives, industry thought leaders, policymakers, technical experts, private institutions, farmers, women and youth across the globe to discuss and define practical actions and solutions to the challenges of technology access and use faced in the agriculture sector.