TechInAfrica – Through its 4Afrika Initiative, Microsoft has entered a partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The partnership was announced at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) which will mark the support for AGRA’s digital transformation to boost food security for 39 million farming households across 11 countries by 2021.
The partnership allows both companies to use big data and artificial intelligence (AI) in to increase farm productivity and profitability. Moreover, the collaboration will also support farmers to adopt new technologies through digital training content, provide an internship program to obtain digital skills in agriculture, as well as support policy advocacy and government engagement in designing national agriculture digitization strategies.
Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of Microsoft 4Afrika, said: “Agriculture is a priority sector of investment for us, not only because it sustains some 70 percent of livelihoods, but because we believe technology can significantly contribute to the transformation of the sector.”
Abdella added, “Africa has a large number of farmers with varying farming practices. We believe technology can augment this knowledge to improve crop yields. Using Microsoft-enabled IoT technology, organizations like SunCulture have helped farmers increase crop yields by 300 percent, and increase income for farmers.”
AGRA said that there is the biggest challenge in improving farmer productivity in Africa today: they seem to use the outdated production technologies and practices continually. They only adopt new technologies only if they are useful, affordable, and locally reachable.
Speaking on the partnership with AGRA, Abdela said: “We’re excited to work with AGRA in building locally-relevant technology solutions that are mindful of challenges local farmers face, offering solutions to farmers and policymakers alike to deliver meaningful impact.”
Microsoft has been committed to supporting agritech across Africa. It has supported several African agritech startups and companies, including SunCulture, Virtual City, N-Frnds, and Twiga Foods.