Policy on e-agriculture practices needed for sector growth

In an era of increasing concern for food security, it has become imperative for governments to develop the necessary policies to support e-agriculture practices to propel sector growth.

E-agriculture is an emerging field, focused on the enhancement of agricultural and rural development through improved information and communication processes.

At a public lecture on e-agriculture, titled ‘The Use of Blockchain for Agriculture/Agribusiness Development in Ghana’ organised by the Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana in collaboration with Ghana Technology University And Internet Society Of Ghana, president of the chamber, Anthony Morrison said, it is time that government takes a look at developing the necessary policies that would make agriculture more attractive to the youth.

A check from the Ministry of Food And Agriculture (MoFA) shows that, currently there is no policy on e-agriculture. However the World Bank had earlier provided funds for the establishment of Ghana’s first ever electronic agriculture program aimed at modernizing agricultural production.

Morrison also asked that, government should make available some of its cyberspace for agriculture data collection and development.

“The lack of internet access in rural areas serves as a disincentive for the youth to engage in agriculture in the rural areas,” he noted.

Speaking on the use of blockchain for agriculture/agribusiness development, the resource person, Professor Kester Aphetsi Quist highlighted the need for government to set out policies that govern e-agriculture.

“This has to be integrated into other systems where data is shared and opened for anybody to access to use to make decisions in government,” he said.

Professor Quist noted that, the blockchain in Ghana’s agriculture can be used to solve a lot of problems the sector currently encounters.

“One of the critical problems that you solve is that we can collect data on products from farms, and also ensure data validation and verification of products movements from farms to other locations.”

The blockchain could further be used to validate and verify agriculture equipment, information, agro-inputs and pest and diseases management, he added.

According to the 2017-2018 youth think tank report, policymakers and development practitioners have become increasingly enthusiastic about the ability of emerging technologies to unlock the potential for agriculture in Africa.

However, these technologies should be more tailored to optimize opportunities for young people, particularly rural young people, to maximise their on-farm activities and facilitate their entry into off-farm activities.

By Joshua W. Amlanu