High tech proposed to tackle Africa's food woes

What you need to know:

  • These will be showcased during the coming Africa Food Systems Forum slated for Kigali, Rwanda later this year

Arusha. Cutting-edge technologies will be showcased during the forthcoming summit on food security in Africa later this year.

The technologies in question will be promoted during the event to help contain the adverse effects of climate change on food production.

Other anomalies targeted for solutions by advanced tech systems are factors behind low productivity and post-harvest food losses.

"As we evolve into a digital age, the summit will showcase cutting-edge technologies and equipment," the organisers said.

The Africa Food Systems (AFS) Forum 2024 annual summit will be held in Kigali, Rwanda from September 2 to 6, this year. The theme of this year's summit is 'Innovate, Accelerate and Scale: Delivering food systems transformation in a digital and climate era'.

"The theme underscores the urgent need to radically transform African food systems," said the chair of the forum Hailemariam Dessalegn. The former Ethiopian prime minister added that the desired transformation would not only enhance local food production but also bolster resilience to climate change, uplift African livelihoods, and harness the continent's potential to tackle food challenges.

The five-day summit is expected to host approximately 5,000 delegates from across the food systems in Africa and beyond. The last AFS annual meeting took place in Dar es Salaam in September last year, during which African countries were challenged to take food production seriously.

African governments should invest in food production in every possible way instead of taking the cultivation of food for granted.

Africa, it emerged, has at least 65 percent of uncultivated arable land in the world, yet it leads in the number of hungry people.

Leaders who attended the summit attributed poor farm harvests in the continent to failure to embrace the right technologies, especially those targeting smallholder farmers.

Between 30 to 40 percent of crops in Africa were also damaged after harvests in the absence of food preservation technologies.

Mr Hailemariam said during the launch of the summit preparations in Kigali that the forum will emphasise the role of the youth in food production.

"With the abundance of emerging African young talents, remarkable innovations and proven solutions, scaling up adaptation is possible," he said.

However, the former Ethiopian leader said achieving food security in Africa needed increased investments in large-scale crop cultivation, preferably by the private sector.

As was the case in Dar es Salaam last year, the Kigali summit is expected to bring together business leaders and potential investors. Others expected to be in attendance will be high-ranking government officials from African countries and farmers.

"They will be in Kigali to make the connections needed to unlock investments and financing opportunities," said Rwanda's Prime Minister, Edouard Ngirente.

According to him, the 2024 food summit will shine the spotlight on innovative policy delivery mechanisms, financing initiatives, research, and business models

Participants and delegates will have the opportunity to network with the innovators driving the state-of-the-art technologies and developments.

AFS Forum is the world's premier forum for African agriculture and food systems, bringing together stakeholders who will move the continent's food agenda forward.

The Forum is a multi-sector platform comprising 28 partners leading in African agriculture and all focused on putting farmers at the center of the continent's growing economies.