FAO launches virtual regional FDiVi project

Ashton Mutyavaviri

AMID escalating efforts to increase use of technology in agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has launched a virtual regional Fostering Digital Villages Through Innovative Advisory and Profitable Market Services in Africa project (FDiVi).

Speaking during the event earlier this week, FAO sub-regional coordinator for Southern Africa Mr Patrice Talla said since today’s world was living in the digital age, the initiative would succeed in transforming Zimbabwean rural economies.

“It is my belief that the initiative will further Zimbabwe’s aspirations under Agenda 2030 and lead to better agricultural production and better life for Zimbabweans,” said Mr Talla.

Mr Talla added that the project would operate with 150 farmer groups from Malawi, Rwanda and Zimbabwe that would use digital technologies including artificial intelligence, to enhance agricultural advisory services, improve market access and promote sharing of best practices.

As Africa is motivated to achieve its 2063 Development Agenda, it needs to concentrate strategic efforts on transforming its agri-food production and commercialisation systems, improving life in rural areas by addressing farm and off-farm bottlenecks, he observed.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos highlighted that the initiative would successfully have an impact on the growth of the agriculture sector and transform rural communities.

“The initiative holds immense promise for transforming the lives of rural communities. By ensuring that our activities effectively respond to their needs and challenges, we can empower them to thrive under the digital age,” said Dep Min Haritatos.

According to the 2023 Africa Agriculture Status Report, “Empowering Africa’s Food Systems for the Future,” digital technologies will be key in addressing the three persistent problems in Africa’s agricultural industry that are: inefficiency, exclusivity and unsustainability.

Digital technologies and related products and services can transform production, management and governance systems.

By ‘going digital,’ Africa can align its food systems with Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger, to achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Digitalisation also resonates with the African Union agenda 2063, which aspires to achieve a ‘prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, underpinned by science, technology and innovation,’ with ‘healthy and well-nourished citizens’ and ‘modern agriculture for increased proactivity and production.’

Despite the cardinal importance of food security and national development, rural areas remain characterised by poor social, economic and technological infrastructure as well as limited opportunities.

Digital innovations have been known to provide powerful drivers for achieving sustainable, inclusive and performant agri-food systems and rural transformation

 

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