The strength of rural agricultural institutions, research and development will influence African agriculture

  • 08th November 2018
  • by secretary
1 November 2018. Tom Jayne, a professor of food and resource economics at the US-based Michigan State University and Onyeka Akumah, founder and chief executive officer of Nigeria-based Farmcrowdyspoke to SciDev.Net during the Africa Green Revolution Forum in Rwanda (4-8 September).

They are of the opinion that there is a need to think about innovation more broadly in Africa’s farming context if it is to yield more, alleviate poverty and improve lives and livelihoods.

“If smallholders in Africa are going to be empowered and really thrive as a business, innovation is not just going to happen in technology but also in institutions. The strength of rural agricultural institutions, research and development, and the rate of farm technology advancements will influence African agriculture.Challenges confronting farming in Africa include migration of youth from rural to urban settings and smallholders’ low adoption rates of conservation agriculture: a farming system that promotes maintenance of a permanent soil cover, minimum soil disturbance and diversification of plant species.”  Tom Jayne,

Onyeka Akumah, founder of Farmcrowdy, a digital agriculture platform that connects small-scale farmers with investors to boost food production in Nigeria, says technology in agriculture needs to improve yields as well as operations, adding that a focus has to be on broadening the impact of technology.

 “There is a whole [set of] business that revolves around agriculture, whether it is logistics, warehousing, processing or exporting. Now you can go on our mobile app or on our website and decide whether you want maize, rice or sorghum farmer or cassava farmer, make your decision and invest your money through the platform.”