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NTF V supports the digitalization of agriculture in Côte d'Ivoire

7 November 2022
ITC News

What if new technologies could foster the development of a more viable agricultural model in Africa? On June 24, various players in agricultural innovation met in Abidjan.

Digitalization at the service of a new African agriculture

The NTF V FastTrackTech project initiated the meeting event in partnership with the University Nangui Abrogoua. Participants were agri-tech start-ups of Côte d'Ivoire, students and representatives of the sector, but also incubators and support programs dedicated to entrepreneurs. The objective was to encourage synergies of action between the academic world and agri-tech companies, and thereby contribute to the emergence of new technological solutions adapted to the problems of African agriculture. Among them, ICT4DEV offers promising perspectives.

Partnership offers have increased since the agri-tech event in June for this start-up, and for good reason: since 2016, ICT4DEV has been collecting data that is essential for farmers to restructure their activity and improve their production. Jean-Delmas Ehui, the company's director, explains: “Our GELICO application lists all agricultural cooperatives in the coffee and cocoa sector in Côte d'Ivoire. It is an essential database for producers and buyers throughout West Africa, but also for government authorities seeking transparency and traceability. We are also developing decision support tools based on artificial intelligence that help anticipate harvest problems, water needs, weather hazards and price trends. When you consider that a vast majority of African farmers is located in remote rural areas without access to information, you understand the importance of new technologies.”
 

Bringing together agri-tech start-ups and the academic world

In the face of strong demographic growth, the economic development and food security of numerous African countries are at stake. “Agri-tech acts in favor of a more sustainable agricultural model; one that is also more ecological and inclusive. Small-scale farmers are the ones who feed us, but they remain the most deprived. ICT4DEV's ambition is to ensure that technology contributes to a better sharing of wealth. And to train tomorrow's agripreneurs, we need to work hand in hand with the academic world,” claims Jean-Delmas, who says that he is ready to lead master classes or participate in the development of educational programs. The message was perfectly heard by Soumaila Dabonne, director of the continuing education center and specialist in agri-food policies at Nangui Abrogoua University: “Technologies are progressing very quickly. Soon we will have to teach the use of drones and biotechnology. We need to be in close dialogue with agri-tech companies to be able to build training programs in line with market needs.” 

The June 24 meeting brought together all stakeholders around a common strategy: better cooperate to prepare the agronomists of the future. Soumaila Dabonne hopes that a pilot project will follow-up the June 24 meeting. “By organizing this meeting, the NTF V project allowed the University and its students to motivate their interest in the agri-tech professions. Participants exchanged contacts and internship perspectives in companies should soon materialize. The University hopes to develop concrete partnerships with agri-tech start-ups through its research and training programs. We are open to dialogue!”
 

NTF V multiplies initiatives in Côte d'Ivoire

Meanwhile NTF V continues its dynamic. During the same week, the project also met its institutional partners (Fondation Jeunessse Numérique, GOTIC, CI20) as well as the start-ups participating in the program. In the presence of Bart Van Der Meer, in charge of innovation policies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the aim was to evaluate the results and to better identify the challenges of the Ivorian digital ecosystem in order to better contribute to its development.
 

About the project

The Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF) (July 2021 - June 2025) is based on a partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Trade Centre. The programme supports small businesses in sub-Saharan Africa in the digital technology and agribusiness sectors, in Benin, Ivoiry Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Uganda. It aims at contributing to an inclusive and sustainable transformation of agri-food systems partly through digital solutions, improving the competitiveness of local tech start-ups internationally and supporting the implementation of IT&BPO companies’ export strategies. The NTF V FastTrackTech project covers four countries (Benin, Ivoiry Coast, Mali and Uganda), and focuses on supporting digital businesses.