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Smart-tech and innovation

Farmers in Belize are using a biodiverse production model to cultivate whole root turmeric for processing into paste

© Virginie Goudreault

Wild turmeric turns a trade in Belize

In Toledo district, farmers are earning three times the going rate for their turmeric by supplying a local processing company to produce the world’s first ‘wildcrafted’ whole root turmeric paste.

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Innovations reshaping smallholders’ market access

Technical solutions to food tracking, traceability and distribution are enabling agribusinesses along the value chain to better manage and expand their operations. Such innovations also help farmers and farmer organisations to establish and strengthen links with buyers.

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Can blockchain plug Africa’s agri-finance gap?

A group of partners are developing a blockchain-powered ecosystem across Africa that they say will boost investment into agricultural infrastructure, allow smallholder farmers to borrow more cheaply and stimulate consumer activity in rural economies.

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Reigniting Kenya’s international trade

In 2013, stringent standards for exports into the EU caused a hike in rejected produce from Kenya – and a huge blow to its horticulture industry. Now, a digital traceability system is helping to rebuild the sector, providing precise accountability from field to export.

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Digitalising Kenya’s dairy sector

New technologies are helping to transform dairy farming into an increasingly lucrative occupation for Kenyan smallholders. The use of digital weighing scales and solar-powered refrigerated transportation units are helping to minimise waste and maximise farmer profits.

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Optimum feed ratios for livestock

In collaboration with nutritionists, software developers and farmers in developing countries, Dutch consultancy firm, Single Spark, has helped to develop an app that instructs farmers how to prepare the optimum livestock feed to meet their needs.

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Don’t leave technology to the men

Dr Eleni Gabre-Madhin, CEO and Founder of blueMoon – Ethiopia’s first youth agribusiness incubator – shares her experience as a woman entrepreneur in Africa’s agricultural sector and stresses the importance that agribusinesses ‘think digital’.

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New horizons for Pacific aquaculture

In the Pacific, three seafood companies using sustainable fishery practices to conserve the health of marine ecosystems and contribute to the local economy have received international recognition for their novel business models.

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Is the Internet of Things the future of farming?

In ACP countries, the use of smart ‘connected’ devices in agriculture is still at an experimental stage. Yet new projects are emerging, and global trends show how this new technology offers vital development opportunities.

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'Super seeds' reach refugees in Uganda

To promote food security and self-sufficiency in Uganda among smallholder farmers and refugee communities, new bean varieties have been bred to tolerate the changing climate. The highly productive seeds have also become popular among traders and seed companies who have a ready market for their product.

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Next-generation farmers: Digitally connected and business-minded

Numerous initiatives are emerging in the agricultural community that illustrate the potential profile of future African farmers – as informed business leaders, who make a good living and are connected online – and prove that agriculture offers exciting opportunities for young people.

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Providing clean fuel for cooking

In Kenya, a safe, convenient and affordable ethanol cooking fuel is reducing damage to the environment, and impact on human health. Accessed through local retailers via cloud-connected e-commerce kiosks, the fuel is used on modern ethanol cooking stoves costing half the price of traditional gas stoves.

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Eco-friendly farming inputs

Two Kenyan agribusinesses have developed effective and affordable farming inputs from previously unwanted materials. A bio-pesticide made from locally available weeds and a carbon neutral organic fertiliser – a mixture of charcoal, crop residue and plant waste – have shown promising results for Kenyan farmers.

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Modernising Caribbean crop production

Agricultural production in the Caribbean is constrained by limited access to up-to-date, local information. However, recent ICT developments in the region have created e-solutions to these challenges, improving crop production and reducing pests and diseases as well as post-harvest losses.

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Reducing wastage to provide niche fish products

Kati Farms, a fish processing enterprise in Kampala, Uganda, produces a range of value-added niche products, including its well-known fish sausage, using farmed tilapia and catfish sourced from over 1,000 fish farmers. Since 2015, Kati Farms has also been exporting its innovative products across the continent.

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Innovation for food safety

A low-cost, low-tech innovation measuring food dryness is preventing the development of mould in stored crops in Tanzania, and improving the quality and nutritional value of smallholder produce. In Cameroon, moisture-testing machines are enabling cocoa farmers to demand higher prices for their beans at the market.

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Esoko supports fish farmers in Kenya

In Kenya, an online platform is connecting fish farmers with traders and service providers, and updating them with best practice tips and market information. The platform is partnering with shops providing quality feed and equipment that are helping fish farmers increase their production and incomes.

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High-quality seed yam production

Seed yams are being mass produced by scientists in a rapid and affordable process, which avoids using soil and transferring disease. A project in Ghana and Nigeria is using aeroponics to address the inefficiency of traditional seed yam production and increase yields of the staple crop.

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Fruit fly control in Kenya

A protein-based fruit fly bait to attract and kill the pests, is boosting incomes for fruit and vegetable farmers in Kenya. Tested in fields across Africa, the product is helping to overcome yield losses and costs 70% less than other commercially available products.

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Rehabilitating Somalia’s fishery sector

Fish aggregating devices along the coast of Somalia are enhancing the incomes of local fishers by attracting off-shore sustainable fish stocks. A broad-based programme is also providing technical training to youths on fisheries management to tackle unemployment levels and piracy in the region.

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Technology takes on illegal fishing

Satellite mapping technology is being used to identify illicit fishing practices and help enforce tighter regulations to protect global fish stocks. Global Fishing Watch is a free online platform which allows people to track the movements of fishing vessels and detect any suspicious activity.

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Engaging youth to protect food security

WHYFARM is using educational entertainment to inspire youth involvement in agriculture and help tackle the global food crisis. The not-for-profit organisation uses hands-on activities to teach children in Africa and the Caribbean about nutrition and sustainable agriculture.

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Aflatoxin control

A rapid aflatoxin testing kit and airtight storage containers are helping farmers reduce contamination in their maize and other stored crops. Cost-effective and easy to use, the technologies are also useful tools for traders and public health authorities looking to identify and manage aflatoxin exposure.

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Improving traceability

Technology and regulatory improvements are needed to reduce fraud and unsustainable practices in seafood value chains. Commercial transparency is critical to food safety and consumer confidence, yet, complex supply chains make it difficult to identify the origin and history of many seafood products.

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Tools for balanced fertilisation

A soil mapping project in Ethiopia, and mobile laboratories for testing soil in Kenya, are helping farmers improve fertiliser use. Areas of Ethiopian soil previously affected by acidity and nutrient deficiency are becoming more balanced, while Kenyan farmers are able to test soils before planting.

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Food crisis prevention in Madagascar

Food crises are a regular occurrence in Madagascar. Remote sensing – using technology to measure farmland – is helping the country to tackle this issue head-on. Researchers are utilising satellite images and spatial modelling to estimate crop yields and identify the best ways to combat diseases.

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Mobile technology improves nutrition

High child mortality and malnutrition in Angola are being tackled through the use of audio messages sent via mobile phones to mothers and carers. Providing mothers with child development, vaccination and hygiene information is proving instrumental in improving the health and nutrition of newborns.

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Reduced spoilage through solar techniques

Fishing communities in Cameroon, Cabo Verde and Malawi are benefiting from solar drying and solar-powered storage systems to better preserve fish. New technologies are enabling fish processors to deliver higher quality products, whilst boosting sustainable incomes and minimising environmental damage.

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Solar potential for rural Africa

Renewable energy products are harnessing solar power at various scales, from household to small business and industrial levels. Increased adoption of renewable resources in Africa is minimising environmental damage and improving farming outputs by refining activities along the value chain.

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Nuclear technologies for climate-smart agriculture

Across Africa and other ACP regions, nuclear research and soil management applications have helped to increase crop yields and irrigation water use. Understanding the behaviour of atoms and their movement within soil, water and fertilisers provides vital information for improving farm maintenance.

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Improving yields year-round

In sub-Saharan Africa, potatoes are an important staple. New and improved varieties– Asante (‘thank you’ in Swahili), Shangii and Obama - the result of a research project led by the International Potato Centre (CIP), are enabling smallholders to plant potatoes year-round and significantly increasing yields.

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Illegal fishing: A collaborative approach

Cutting edge satellite technology is being used to track down and act against illegal fishing vessels. Seven African countries are working together, as part of FISH-i Africa, to share information and resources for an effective, collaborative approach to eradicate illegal fishing.

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A Mauritian carbon-footprint calculator

The “Mauritius 2050 Pathways Calculator” is the first carbon-footprint calculator developed for a small island state. This decision-making tool will enable Mauritius to improve its long-term energy strategy and minimise greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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An eco-friendly and healthy kiln

The FTT kiln is more energy efficient, has a greater fish processing capacity, improves food quality and reduces health hazards. These qualities have contributed to its wide adoption by small-scale processors.

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ICTs: strength in unity

Converging communication media (TV, PC, mobile) for agriculture offers a number of opportunities in ACP countries, as shown by the good practices shared by experts at a workshop organised by CTA.

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Successful knowledge sharing

With support of a research and training partnership, a Madagascan research institute has developed upland rice varieties adapted to the Hautes Terres of Madagascar

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