The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), has said that with the nature of growth in drone use, automated tractors, artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain, the agricultural scene will undergo a change and future farmers will be monitoring their farms with drones from the comfort of their homes.
Akinwunmi Adesina made this call during a keynote address delivered at the 2018 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting which held in Washington last weekend. He said the technology transfer was immediately needed, and that the proof from countries such as Nigeria demonstrates that technology in combination with substantial government backing is already yielding positive results.
Weetracker reported earlier that AU-NEPAD’s drone report stated that agricultural development remains Africa’s best chance of improving wellbeing and reducing poverty, and that nations of this continent will be served better if there is an intensification of efforts towards the promotion of precision agricultural drones.
Akinwunmi Adesina used Nigeria as a case study, indicating that it is a region where policy during his tenure as the country’s Minister of Agriculture, brought about a revolution in rice production in three years. According to him, the technologies required to achieve Africa’ green revolution ate already available, but most of these data are just sitting on shelves. He pointed out that the challenge as of now lacks in supportive policies that will go in ways to ensure that they are scaled up to reach up to millions of today farmers.
Adesina said that during his time of service to Nigeria as minister, all it took was sheer political will, bolstered by science, technology, and pragmatic policies. According to him, just like the rice production revolution, the same can be said about a myriad of technologies, not to exempt high-yielding water efficient maize, optimal-yielding cassava varieties, animal, and fisheries technologies.
Meanwhile, the African Development Bank has disclosed that it is currently liaising with the World Bank, the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to mobilize USD 1 Bn that will help in the scaling up of agricultural technologies across Africa, under the auspices of a new initiative named to be Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT). This initiative will be taking bold steps to lessen or bring down entirely, the many barriers stopping farmers from gaining access to the latest seed varieties and technologies to improve their productivity.
According to Adesina, with the growth pace in drone use, automated tractors, artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain, agriculture will undergo a massive change in Africa. “It is more likely that farmers of the future will be sitting in their homes’ comfort with computer applications at their disposal, with which they would determine the size of their farmlands, monitor and guide farm input applications, and with a driverless combine, harvesters bring in the harvest,” he remarked.
In a move to help Africa transform its very own agriculture, AfDB is pumping in an investment of USD 24 Bn over the next decade to implement its Feed Africa Strategy.