AFRICA - Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), on Wednesday said that African farmers were effectively using mobile telephone technology to eliminate middlemen in the market prices of farm produce.
Adesina made the remark at the ongoing African agricultural transformation conference, which entered its third day in Dakar, Senegal.
The president's remark is contained in a news item e-mailed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
According to Adesina, the technologies have also helped the farmers to "access better seeds".
"The results of several years of research, new seed varieties and improved crop science can also be scaled up to other areas of Africa with the help of mobile technology.
"We must work out a way for marketing our food crops and figure out the agricultural value chains, after using the new research technologies to improve agricultural production," he said.
The president announced that in a renewed effort to match the agro-technologies with the marketing chain, AfDB would provide a $300 million financing facility to assist women in agriculture to expand their use of technology.
This, according to him, will enhance the efficiency of their crop production, in order to encourage rapid growth in agriculture.
"We must ensure that our bank loans have a developmental impact on agriculture," Adesina said.
NAN recalls that as Nigeria's immediate-past Agriculture Minister, Adesina launched a Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES).
The GES assisted in eliminating profiteering middlemen and scaled up food production by nine million metric tons in one year.
He also introduced an Electronic Wallet System, which allows smallholder farmers to receive electronic vouchers for subsidised seeds and fertilizers, directly on their mobile phones.
The system enabled them to pay for farm inputs from private sector agricultural input dealers.
The Senegal conference is focusing on the development of new policies to transform Africa's agriculture into a lucrative business venture for massive food production for local consumption and for export.
More than 400 delegates and specialists from around the world are discussing how to add value to the continent's raw materials, especially the cash crops such as tea, coffee, cocoa and cotton among others.
The delegates comprised ministers of finance, ministers of agriculture, governors of central banks from across African countries and other private sector leaders from within and outside Africa. (NAN)
October 27, 2015; http://allafrica.com/stories/201510260839.html