Research says African Farmers in Search of ‘One-stop Shops’ –

…where farmers receive advice to match their demand with the appropriate technologies and inputs

 

As the number of Africans venturing into agriculture continues to surge and the purpose of farming gradually tilts from subsistence and vocational to business and investment, the need for ‘one stop shops’ for farmers has been highlighted by the 2018 Malabo Montpellier Panel.

17 leading African and international experts from the fields of agriculture, ecology, food security, nutrition, public policy and global development, submitted that the budding sophistication of African farmers will be rapidly enhanced when smart practices and supporting policies are put in place by both the government and private sectors.

“Mechanization in the African food and agriculture system needs rethinking and fresh strategies. To raise agricultural land and labor productivity, make rural employment more attractive, and achieve future growth and poverty reduction agendas, governments must embrace the technological, policy, and institutional innovation opportunities afforded by mechanization. Mechanization is not just about tractors. Successful mechanization along the value chain will have to be a priority in future development and growth agendas for African smallholder agriculture. Mechanization is also not just about technology; its success depends on organizational innovations, such as reliable services and cooperation arrangements for and with farmers”. The current report—Mechanized: Transforming Africa’s Agriculture Value Chains—summarizes the findings of a systematic analysis of what countries at the forefront of progress in mechanization have done right.

The report said Africa needs to further develop its own agricultural machinery industries, based on the region’s inventiveness and by taking its specific context into account, stressing that the industry may grow as a mix of small, creative startups and partly in partnership with established international corporations.

“The private sector can play a crucial role bringing to scale the design, development, and provision of technologies that have proven impactful. Empowering smallholder farmers’ and women’s groups To bring to scale locally developed and proven technologies, the integrated provision of services, such as “onestop shops” where farmers receive advice to match their demand with the appropriate technologies and inputs, is needed.

The Panel called for substantial investments in public-private partnerships to foster research and development, vocational training, and skills development programs and to stimulate innovation along the value chain: “This needs to include the design and manufacturing of equipment and the servicing of machinery and tools, for example through mechanization service centers and technical extension services, including the collective action of farmer organizations. “

Making a case for women, the Report noted that as women in Africa continue to make up a significant share of farm labor, they need to be actively involved in the innovations and scaling around mechanization and the development of new technologies.

The Panel’s reports seek to inform and guide policy choices to accelerate progress toward the ambitious goals of the African Union Commission’s Agenda 2063, the Malabo Declaration and the global development agenda.

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