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Digital innovation strategy for agrifood systems in Africa

Abridged version 2021–2025










FAO. 2022. Digital innovation strategy for agrifood systems in Africa – Abridged version 2021–2025. Accra.

 





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    Book (stand-alone)
    Digital Revitalization of the Agri-food Sector in Mashreq
    Focus on Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon
    2021
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    Sustainably developing the agri-food sector in Mashreq countries is of paramount importance for food security, job creation, expanded export potential, and social stability and inclusion.Digital technologies could create a new momentum for economic development by accelerating the structural transformation process and by supporting the transition toward a more competitive, commercially oriented, and export-oriented agriculture and agri-business sector. Like any major technology change, digital transformation of the agri-food sector also comes with risks that need to be understood and appropriately managed.Digital technologies show promise for advancing the digital transformation of the agriculture sector in the three Mashreq countries (Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon), although their adoption is still at a relatively early stage.Digital agriculture in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon is limited by many factors.Achieving successful results in Mashreq will require that: 1)users have a better awareness of digital applications, and 2)digital applications provide timely, localized, and customized information addressing specific farming concerns in a comprehensible format and in Arabic or local languages. The public sector has an important role in identifying public goods, policies, and investments needed to maximize the societal benefits from digital agriculture in increasing efficiency, equity, and environmental sustainability in agri-food systems.The catalytic investments and policies include establishing e-Government systems for all public services, facilitating the deployment of smart irrigation and fertilizer management systems along with appropriate policies to safeguard overexploitation of natural resources, and fostering digital ecosystem development.To stimulate the agriculture sector’s digital transformation, governments should enable the following digital and non-digital foundations.
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    Project
    Realizing the Potential of Digitalization to Improve the Agrifood System – Proposing a New International Digital Council for Food and Agriculture - GCP/GLO/029/GER 2022
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    The global agrifood system faces considerable challenges in providing enough food of adequate quality to feed an ever growing, aging and migrating population. The world is also changing at a fast pace with the emergence of an array of technologies. Digital technologies offer unique opportunities to improve food production and trade, especially for smallholder farmers, and to help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The agrifood system has undergone changes that have increased efficiency and profitability, yet it lags behind in terms of digitalization, which could play an increasingly important role in achieving the global goal of improving food security and rural livelihoods. However, digitalization can also have significant drawbacks. It may increase digital divides across the system, cause workforce displacement or be misused, as can be the case with data protection, data ownership, privacy rights and cybersecurity. Digitalization can also make it harder for smallholder farmers as they struggle to compete with new technologies, making the digital divide even more pronounced. In response to the request from 74 Ministers of Agriculture at the Global Forum on Food and Agriculture (GFFA) 2019, a concept note for considering the establishment of an International Digital Council for Food and Agriculture was prepared, and financially supported by Germany. The proposed role of the Digital Council, hereafter the International Platform for Digital Food and Agriculture, is to enhance international cooperation and the exchange of ideas and experiences across borders, creating synergies and avoiding the duplication of efforts. The International Platform for Digital Food and Agriculture will support the rapid development of the digitalization of agriculture by ensuring expertise in using new digital tools, providing structured and strategic agricultural policy recommendations on digitalization to governmental and non governmental actors, and strengthening international cooperation within the agrifood system to better confront challenges and develop plausible solutions.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Pilot Digital Villages Initiative in Africa
    Findings of country assessments and recommendations for effective implementation
    2023
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    The Digital Villages Initiative (DVI) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a corporate programme aiming to combat hunger, poverty and inequality by fostering digital rural transformation. This is being carried out through the establishment of, or support to 1 000 smart rural villages supplied with the digital services needed for agrifood systems and rural transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The DVI supports the FAO Strategic Framework 2022–2031, which responds to key global challenges, including those engendered by COVID-19, “a global crisis, which highlighted the critical mandate of FAO to ensure functioning and sustainable agrifood systems that allow for sufficient production and consumption of food” (FAO, 2021). The programme is being implemented in various regions of the world, including Africa. In sub-Africa, it is led by the Regional Office for Africa (RAF) of FAO and is being deployed on a pilot basis in a few countries. Lessons learned will be shared while opportunities for scaling up/replication in other countries will be explored. A call for expressions of interest was made to identify which countries were interested in participating in the initiative. Seven countries responded positively and have been preselected to be part of the initial pilot: Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Somalia.

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