Digital skills set to surge opportunities in agric sector by 2030

The outlook for jobs in the agricultural sector, both the formal and informal sectors requiring digital skills by 2030 is expected to increase significantly over the next decade, this is contained in a recent survey released by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) earlier this month.

This surge is attributed to major policy framework in the country that promote the adoption of Information Communication Technology (ICT) applications and technologies for increased agriculture production.

According to the United Nations Global Compact, digital agriculture involves the use of new and advanced technologies, integrated into one system to enable farmers and other stakeholders within the agriculture value chain to improve food production. Technologies used include communication networks Artificial Intelligence and other advanced machinery.

The survey forecasts that the demand for digital skills in the sector is expected to surge from the current 5 percent to 10 percent in the informal sector to about 25 percent and 30 percent whereas in that of the formal sector, about 60 percent to 65 percent of digitally-skilled employees are expected to require basic digital skills and 35 percent to 40 percent will require intermediate skills by 2030.

These statistics would mean that productivity is likely to improve significantly in the sector largely because digital technological advancement would enable farmers to get and share better information across traditional industry boundaries which would in turn open up new opportunities for farmers and stakeholder.

For instance, a number of farmers now have access to smartphones. They use it typically for weather reports or useful information from government whiles some of them in the advanced world are most often on Google search and You Tube learning new farming implements and its usage with the view of purchasing them to improve production.

Currently, some farmers make decisions such as application of fertilizer based on a combination of rough estimation and their experience gained over the period. Once a course of action is decided, it is implemented but the results are normally not seen until harvest time.

Expectations are that digital skills will help in automated farming with the collection of data for further analysis to provide the operator with accurate information for better decision making.