AfDB president, Akinwumi Adesina, believes future farmers will be sitting in their homes using drones to monitor their farms

Adesina said with the pace of growth in the use of drones, automated tractors, artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchains, agriculture will change.

Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB President, made the call during a keynote speech delivered at the 2018 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting held in Washington, D.C., last weekend.

Adesina said the technology transfer was needed immediately and that evidence from countries like Nigeria demonstrated that technology plus strong government backing was already yielding positive results.

He cited the case of Nigeria, where policy during his tenure as the country’s Minister of Agriculture, resulted in a rice production revolution in three years.

“Technologies to achieve Africa’s green revolution exist but are mostly just sitting on the shelves. The challenge is a lack of supportive policies to ensure that they are scaled up to reach millions of farmers.”

“All it took was sheer political will, supported by science, technology and pragmatic policies...Just like in the case of rice, the same can be said of a myriad of technologies, including high-yielding water efficient maize, high-yielding cassava varieties, animal and fisheries technologies,” Adesina said.

Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) initiative

The African Development Bank said it is currently working with the World Bank, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to mobilize $ 1 billion to scale up agricultural technologies across Africa under a new initiative called Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).

TAAT is taking bold steps to bring down some of the barriers preventing farmers from accessing the latest seed varieties and technologies to improve their productivity.

“It is more likely that the future farmers will be sitting in their homes with computer applications using drones to determine the size of their farms, monitor and guide the applications of farm inputs, and with a driverless combine, harvesters bringing in the harvest.”

To help Africa transform its agriculture, the AfDB is investing US$ 24 billion over the next ten years to implement its Feed Africa Strategy.

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