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Tuesday, 08 July 2014

ICWE: ICTs Transforming Agriculture - eLearning Africa Report 2014

The growing use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is significantly impacting on the agriculture sector across the African continent and could majorly contribute to transforming the continent’s economy, a report on education, training and development in Africa has shown.
The e-Learning Africa Report 2014, which interviewed people working in agriculture and food industries across Africa, found a higher level of optimism about the future of the agriculture sector compared to other sectors.
The report, published mid-last month, also established that ICTs in agriculture was mostly used to acquire  knowledge about better farming practices and markets.
Survey respondents said ICTs could most benefit farmers through greater efficiency (49 per cent ), better sales (27 per cent), bigger yields (12 per cent) and better land management (10 per cent), according to the report.
The report was published by ICWE, a German international event, media, communication and research organisation.
“ICTs are bringing new solutions to farming problems, promoting more efficient irrigation, better livestock management and even encouraging the development of self-sustaining funding solutions,” the report reads in part.
“Across Africa, a multitude of new, ICT-based initiatives are helping to transform farming outputs and incomes. Our survey shows that farmers recognise that ICTs can help improve both yields and sales,” it adds.
“African agriculture is changing. It is steadily becoming more efficient. Much of the change is happening at the level of the smallholder farmer and it is being driven by the increased use of ICTs, which are helping to boost yields, increase choice and improve living standards,” The report’s editor, Dr Harold Elletson, is quoted as saying in a press statement emailed to The New Times.
The report, however, cites lack of electricity and poor Internet connectivity in many areas, among others, as some of the key challenges affecting the use of ICTs in the agriculture sector.
The report comes shortly after a World Bank report commended the impact of ICTs in transforming the agriculture sector in Africa.
The ICTs for agriculture in Africa report, released last May, concluded that “the strategic application of ICTs to the agricultural industry, the largest economic sector in most African countries, offers the best opportunity for economic growth and poverty alleviation on the continent.”

Source: in2eastafrica.net