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- A bright horizon for South Africa's energy landscapeBarry Bredenkamp
- Achieving developmental goals through constructionCyril Vuyani Gamede
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- 5 sustainability trends that will shape business in 2021Christelle Marais
- 4 trends set to continue or be re-interpreted in the NGO sectorInnocent Masayira
- Strengthening NPO skills and processesNazeema Mohamed, Feryal Domingo and Soraya Joonas
- Sustainability is key for social investment in 2021Keri-Leigh Paschal
- 4 trends in employee skills development and training you need to know for 2021Siphelele Kubheka and Desikan Naidoo
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- 10 predictions around fintechDominique Collett
- The 4 themes for the new yearAndrew Duvenage,
- 3 wealth management trends to watch in 2021Maarten Ackerman
- 4 strategies to rethink investing in SMEsKuhle Mnisi
- Microinsurance ready to reach new heightsMarius Botha
- Finding alpha in the age of Covid-19Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana
- Purpose or profit. It's not a choiceMike Middleton
- Shifting towards a digital - but still human - approachHenry van Deventer
HR & Management trends
- 4 areas in which your business can practice its swivelFrancois Kriel
- 5G is coming. Here's what it could mean for SASamantha Naidoo
- 3 big issues demanding legal attention this yearJonathan Veeran, Nozipho Mngomezulu and Burton Phillips
Logistics & Transport trends
Marketing & Media trends
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- Auction industry survival depends on going virtualJoff van Reenen
- Covid-19 drives new trends in local property marketMarcél du Toit
- A bold year for beveragesAlex Glenday
- Acceleration of digital paymentsJonathan Smit
- Safety vs sustainability - the packaging industry's key conundrumNthabiseng Motsoeneng
- The evolving e-tail landscapeVilo Trska
#BizTrends2018: Investing in efficiency of Africa's small-scale farmers a game changer
"Crop yields in Africa are low compared to those in other regions: only 5% of the cultivated land in Africa makes use of irrigation, for example, compared to 38% in Asia... Technology enables African smallholder farmers to access better information, improve crop yields, secure better prices for their produce, and improve their livelihoods."
Ashley Boag, Chief Business Officer, SAP Africa
What are the biggest trends in the industry?
• Overall efficiency improvement
• Improvements in small-scale farmer contribution and efficiency in Africa
• Making the small farmer part of the community by increasing his share of the final crop value
• Improved seed (resistant, etc.) and fertiliser (many focused on biotech which is still controversial and has hurdles to get over in various countries)
• Smart farming
• Given overall water scarcity, there is a focus on water-efficient farms
• A worldwide shift to being more eco-conscious (less meat, alternatives, etc.) This trend is less pronounced in Africa and developing markets. This also impacts things such as traceability improvements, etc.
What will the game-changing trend be?
In Africa, the empowerment and support of efficiency in small-scale farming - including linking them to the formal economy and access to improved seed and fertiliser.
How big a role will technology play in agriculture in Africa, particularly in terms of the trends you have identified?
Huge. This is one of the key growth drivers expected to support efficiency gains and increased output internationally, from biotech to automation
What are the biggest challenges to the adoption of new technologies into African agriculture?
• The lack of maturity in using tech in Africa and lack of funds. As a large amount of agriculture in Africa is small-scale farming to feed the local community, they typically do not have the critical mass for these investments nor the knowledge on what is available and how to access it.
• Technology platforms that work in the rural areas.
Are there any opportunities that businesses in the industry should go for?
• Efficiency gains through anything from improved communication, linking to the formal economy, improved methods, automation and vertical agriculture.
• Improved sourcing to reduce input costs
• Information sharing to improve crops and processes (product and process knowledge)
What do you hope to see more of in 2018?
Investment in improved efficiency and for the acceleration in technology and agriculture specialisation to continue. Today’s farmers have become more specialised due to technological advances in agricultural production. Data analysis in the years ahead will supplement what farmers know intuitively - and in some cases challenge those assumptions.
*Ashley Boag was interviewed by Cari Coetzee.
Read more: small-scale farmers, SAP Africa, agriculture trends, agriculture technology, Ashley Boag, smart farming, Cari Coetzee