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African small-scale agriculture businesses utilize technology to enhance their operations

Agritech solutions and digital marketing can empower agricultural startups, particularly in rural areas where literacy is increasing and infrastructure is improving. The International Trade Centre (ITC) is working with young farmers and agri-processors to integrate new tech solutions into their operations.

Under the Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF V) programme, ITC’s Alliances for Action has partnered with Bopinc to close the gap between small agribusinesses and the tech sector. They are focusing on small and medium-sized processors of cocoa in Ghana, coffee in Ethiopia, and cashews and other crops in Senegal.

The goal is to upscale their operations in order to generate better profits, improve incomes, and create more jobs by processing local crops in-country. Activities include market research, product development, sustainable processing, packaging, marketing, and developing commercial linkages.

To ensure a holistic approach, tech tools and platforms are integrated into business operations. This also prepares small businesses for the new EU Corporate Sustainable Due Diligence Directive (CS3D) through more precise data collection, greater transparency, and improved traceability.

Ready, game, set and match: Agritech pilots are underway in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Senegal. Bopinc assessed the digital needs of selected businesses and matched them to service providers. They found that businesses need to digitalize their processes through enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to comply with regulations like the EU CS3D directive.

In Senegal, cashew nut processor Zena was matched with tech solutions tailored to improve competitiveness and market access. In Ghana, a Fair Trade-certified farmer cooperative is collaborating to usher in a new era of digitalization and technological advancements. In Ethiopia, the focus is on setting up an automated system to track coffee production and increase efficiency of the Bench Maji Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union.

Another pilot in Ethiopia involves matching the Oromia Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union with a tech company to develop co-op manager systems targeting compliance with EU legislations. The GPS coordinates of 3,000 farmers have been registered to comply with the EU’s regulation on deforestation-free products.

ITC aims to replicate the groundbreaking initiative of creating a directory of digital tools across other countries. The pilots are sustainable beyond the project’s life as they benefit from co-funding from the beneficiaries and capacity building to ensure transfer of know-how and tools at the national level in support of digital transformation of the agribusiness sector.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Trade Centre.

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