September 10, 2019

$10b needed to feed global population of 10 billion by 2050

Investment in agritech needs to double to at least 10 billion dollars a year if the world’s smallholder farmers are to help feed a global population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050.

A not-for-profit organisation, CABI made this revelation during the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2019 held in Accra, from September 3 to 6.

This came up during a panel discussion at the AGRF Forum, on the subject of digital innovations to strengthen the resilience of smallholders in African food systems, which CABI took part.

CABI is an organisation that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

Its Director-General for Development, Dr Dennis Rangi, during the panel discussion, said the financial burden must be met by the private sector if global food security is to be ensured and world poverty and hunger eradicated.

According to AgFunder, global investment in agritech which includes (technology such as farm robots to feed and weed, GPS and drones to map and monitor soil and satellite data to predict the spread of crop pests), was around 4.6 billion dollars in 2015.

However, Dr Rangi believes the public sector must more than double its annual investment in digital infrastructure and research particularly in respect of making data open, to enable the delivery of digital innovations which not only help feed Africa but the world.

Dr Rangi said, “The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals have set us ambitious targets to achieve ‘Zero Hunger’ and ‘No Poverty’ set against a challenging period in history in which the perils of climate change are very real and threatening in its impact on global food security.

“Technological innovations in agriculture, in all its forms, presents us with genuine answers to extremely difficult problems. However, unless we can encourage more investment from the public sector and innovation from the private sector to deliver these solutions at scale, no amount of digital agriculture will help solve the world’s food crisis.

He continues that, “The message is simple: we need to more than double annual investment in agritech to $10bn if we are to feed the world’s growing population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050.”

Dr Rangi told the delegates at the AGRF 2019 meeting that CABI Plantwise programme is one example that is delivering impact at scale.

He said Plantwise’s open access Knowledge Bank, Factsheet App, e-plant clinics with data collection allows for real-time tracking of pests (plus linkage with the Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) project).

“…already putting data and knowledge in the hands of extension workers and farmers keen on growing more and losing less to crop pests and diseases.”

Other projects CABI is also working in partnership to deliver to help improve the resilience of smallholder farmers elsewhere in the world include drone sensing of parthenium weed in Pakistan, the remote sensing of locusts in China and coffee borer in Colombia.

Dr Rangi added that the public sector needs to invest in digital infrastructure and research so that the private sector will be empowered to deliver digital innovations which promote adaptation and resilience across not only Africa’s but the world’s food systems.

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) is a platform for global and African leaders to develop actionable plans that will move African agriculture forward.

Held in Accra, Ghana the theme of the Forum was, “Grow Digital: Leveraging digital transformation to drive sustainable food systems in Africa.”

 

Source: Ghana | Luv News | Prince Appiah | princekappiah@gmail.com

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