It is becoming increasingly evident that a strong focus on digitalisation as a means to drive agricultural transformation is bearing dividends in the forms of increased production, better livelihoods, more efficient value chains and ultimately greater food and nutrition security. Digitalisation is also key to attracting youth back to agriculture.
The use of a wide range of technologies – from mobile phones to drones – is helping smallholders gain access to the information and data they need to transform their businesses. One of the goals in CTA’s 2016–2020 Strategic Plan was to reach 1 million farmers, and a focus on digitalisation is helping us to achieve that. In many of our activities, there is a strong focus on supporting youth and promoting women empowerment.
To give just one example, CTA’s Pitch Agri-Hack competition, which took place in Rwanda during the African Green Revolution Forum in September 2018, had as its theme ‘Women Entrepreneurs Innovate for Agricultural Transformation’.
At the award ceremony, which was attended by four heads of state and some 20 government ministers, I was able to tell a large audience that the 26 entrepreneurs who had reached the finals – 14 young women and 12 young men – will help transform agriculture for future generations and encourage young people to see the potential in farming and agribusiness.
There are many reasons to be optimistic, and I believe the stories in this report illustrate that CTA together with our partners is well positioned for a future beyond the end of the Cotonou Agreement, under which CTA operates, to continue to make a difference.