Ghana has been ranked third best among African countries currently making progress and investing in agriculture digitization distribution solutions, a report by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has revealed.
The report noted that while there are agriculture digitization solutions present in at least 43 out of 49 sub -Sahara African countries, over half of the solutions are based in East Africa, with Kenya leading the way.
Launching the report at the African Green Revolution Forum 2019 in Accra, CTA’s Director, Michael Hailu said: “Ghana has created an environment that is well suited to rapid digitization for agriculture scale up but existing solutions must be tweaked to derive full realization of potentials.
Instructively, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and South Africa in that order, lead in distribution and use of agriculture digitization solutions on the continent.
The Ghanaian situation, is evident in the fact that the use of technology and digitization of solutions to farming have been enhanced lately, with the introduction of drones’ technology to farming and irrigation.
Agriculture accounts for 18 percent of Ghana’s GDP but the percentage of agriculture’s contribution to GDP according to the report, is expected to decrease, while non-agricultural services and other industrial sectors are projected to expand.
At present, over half of the country’s workforce – 52 percent – engages in agriculture with crop farming economically more important than livestock production, with cocoa, oil palm, coffee, and rubber ranking as the most significant crops.
In recent years, growth in non-agricultural services and other industrial sectors has outpaced that in agriculture. Agriculture, nonetheless, continues to grow at a strong pace – for example, by 8.4 percent in 2017, thanks, to government support through a number of interventions, including, the 2017–2019 ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ (PFJ) initiative.
The report explained that while investments into agriculture digitization in Africa remain small and primarily fuelled by donors, private investment is entirely lagging among many countries on the continent.
It said, donors are increasingly making digitization for agriculture an important part of their portfolios with an estimated €175 million in annual donor funding flows on the continent, but with limited accompanying private sector investment.
In 2018, there was an investment of approximately €47 million into Africa-focused digitization for agriculture enterprises, including both start-ups and later stage enterprises. Investment into Africa based agriculture digitization startups represented just 3-6 percent of all Africa tech startup investment in 2018.
Most of the funding went into specific enterprises with few investments going into infrastructure; these focusing on farmer registries, soil testing infrastructure and weather stations.