This was one of the key findings from the recently released baseline study on agricultural digitalisation in the SADC region commissioned by the Center for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) under the Agricultural Productivity Programme for Southern Africa (APPSA). The baseline indicates that digital agriculture innovations are unevenly distributed across the 16 member states, with South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania having the highest overall number.
About 216 digital agriculture innovations were identified by the study, which were mostly related to digital advisory services, agri-digital financial services, digital procurement, agri e-commerce and smart farming. The most common digital agriculture innovation was digital advisory, followed by agri e-commerce and digital procurement. Very few innovations were observed in the agri-digital financial services component.
Digital innovations and technologies have the potential to transform agri-food systems by accelerating and integrating stakeholders and their work across the value chain. In fact, they have the potential to increase the efficiency of agriculture for smallholder farmers including, improved food availability as well as freeing up labor while keeping production and productivity high.
APPSA is a World Bank funded initiative currently being implemented by Lesotho and Angola with regional coordination by CCARDESA. Angola is establishing the Regional Center of Leadership on cassava and cassava-based farming systems whereas Lesotho on horticulture and horticulture-based farming systems.