from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria
LAGOS – NEW technologies must be made available to farmers across the continent to save Africa US$35 billion in food imports annually, Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, has said.
“All it (Africa) needs to do is to harness the available technologies with the right policies and rapidly raise agricultural productivity and incomes for farmers, and assure lower food prices for consumers,” Adesina said.
He was delivering a keynote speech at the 2018 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) annual meeting held in Washington, United States.
Adesina said the use of drones, automated tractors, artificial intelligence, robotics and block chains, with their rapid pace of growth, would change agriculture.
He said new technologies had the potential to transform agricultural production, hence the need for technology transfer.
“Technologies to achieve Africa’s green revolution exist, but are mostly just sitting on the shelves. The challenge is a lack of supportive policies to ensure that they are scaled up to reach millions of farmers.”
Adesina, Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said his country demonstrated that technology plus strong government backing were already yielding positive results.
A myriad of technologies, including high-yielding water efficient maize, high-yielding cassava varieties, animal and fisheries technologies, are transforming the respective sector as the West Africa country diversifies its economy from oil.
“All it took was sheer political will, supported by science, technology and pragmatic policies,” Adesina, the 2017 World Food Prize winner, said.
Over 1 600 agricultural and applied economists from around the world attended the AAEA event in the US.
Scott Swinton, AAEA President, said AfDB exemplified the use of economics to make a difference in people’s lives.
“If applied economics is economics that make a difference, I think that there is no better example of someone who has used that than Akinwumi Adesina,” Swindon said.
– CAJ News