Innovation and technology have the potential to improve farm productivity, efficiency and incomes across the agri-food system. However, it is important that these products are developed and distributed inclusively and with users at the center of the design and delivery approach. Companies have an important role to play in co-developing and scaling innovative farming solutions and ensuring rural infrastructure is accessible to all members of agricultural communities in training and capacity-building.
To reach the SDGs and meet the consumption demands of a rapidly growing population, actors throughout the agri-food sector must leverage disruptive technologies that connect and value chains. A disparate supply base, comprised of many impoverished farmers with limited computer/phone access and inadequate internet connectivity within rural communities must be connected to this ecosystem. While some farms in developed countries are equipped with new technologies that leverage drones, smart irrigation, and instant market information at farmers’ fingertips, most smallholder farmers lack access to these technologies and infrastructures. In addition, new technologies are necessary to minimize the one-third of all food that is lost or wasted from farm to fork.
The market opportunities in agri-tech are strong – for example, 90% of the market for digital services that support African smallholder farmers remains untapped; and agri-weather advisory services have the potential to yield benefits worth over USD$ 430 billion for India’s 90 million agricultural households. In addition, integrating new technologies across agri-supply chains can improve efficiency and logistics; reduce resource use; and minimize food loss and waste, which in turn can save businesses and farmers money and stimulate income growth. Businesses can also leverage new technologies to gain deeper insights into their supply chain and ensure that consumers’ calls for transparency are met.
In partnership with the Scaling Positive Agriculture project, GAA-EL is working with members to collect insights, create knowledge-sharing opportunities, and promote investment into innovation and technology solutions to support sustainable agriculture outcomes for nature and for farmers. For example, the GAA-EL project is identifying opportunities for investment in technologies that address hotspots of post-harvest loss and in turn secure higher farmer incomes and food security. GAA-EL focuses on elevating best practices for cultivating farmer uptake of new technologies, and is bringing together business, producer groups and key decision-makers to address existing challenges, scale initiatives, and identify co-financing opportunities for innovation, with farmer livelihoods at the center.