twitter linkedin acp contact

Contributing to the future of local agriculture

The fifth Agri Indaba, hosted by Datacentrix, a leading hybrid ICT systems integrator and managed services provider, took place from 7-8 September at the Zebula Golf Estate and Spa in Limpopo

Alleviating global challenges such as food security and wastage through innovative technologies including blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and drones formed the central theme of the event. 

“South African agriculture exported US$12.8bn in agricultural products last year, roughly half of its annual produce, and we believe that this can be even better supported by smart, data-driven farms and their improved efficiencies,” said Datacentrix CEO, Ahmed Mahomed during his welcoming address. “This type of environment could potentially encompass solutions such as data management, AI, machine learning (ML), internet-based solutions, mobile technologies, drone-based applications and automation.”

Human centred AI advocate and thought leader Johan Steyn during his keynote address stated that technological agriculture could be a game changer for Africa, as well as the rest of the developing world. 

Steyn suggested that, for industry to retain control over AI, both the regulatory environment and AI skills challenges need to be overcome. There are no regulations that govern AI in Africa, or globally for that matter; and the lack of technical skills and expertise is fuelled by skills migration that is specifically prominent in South Africa.

Furthermore, in order to prevent costly mistakes, he advised local agri-businesses to leverage the power of AI through critical partnerships with companies like Datacentrix, where past learnings and experiences contribute to stronger IP, rather than attempting to go the AI journey alone.

Dr Tebogo Sethibe, group executive at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), added blockchain technology to the Agri Indaba discussion, saying that, from a food security point of view, this type of solution is already being successfully used to rectify broken food chain challenges such as contamination and consumer demand for greater transparency within the food industry.

For more information, visit: