MoData’s Agtech Solutions Boost Growth in Africa’s Agricultural Sector

With Africa fast becoming a global leader in the agtech space, MoData’s value propositions offer smart solutions for the sector.

Agriculture has always been key to Africa’s economic growth. It accounts for 14 per cent of Africa’s GDP, 52 per cent of the continent’s workforce, and 70 per cent of the population’s livelihoods. New research from Microsoft, in partnership with Africa Practice, shows that Africa’s agricultural sector is set for exponential growth over the next decade, with agricultural output in Africa set to increase up to three times by 2030, with a projected value of US$1 trillion.

Key to this growth is comprehensive agtech solutions that enable farmers to access capital, and boost productivity and crop yields through data-driven insights, AI and IoT, all of which increase profitability. MoData’s agtech platforms offer solutions in all of these areas, playing a vital role in the growth of the agtech sector on the continent.

“Our platforms combine advanced technologies to deliver insights to governments, farmers, agricultural companies and coops, aid organisations, banks and financial institutions, helping increase productivity through the power of information,” says MoData CEO Darren Turnbull. “By combining MoData’s comprehensive understanding of the economic drivers and infrastructure challenges in this sector with our expertise in the agtech and finance space, our robust solutions platforms are underscoring growth in this dynamic sector.”

Between 2016 and 2019, Africa’s agtech sector grew by 44 per cent year-on-year, with the continent registering the highest number of agtech services in the developing world, reaching over 33 million smallholder famers. The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is expected to boost intra-African trade by 49 per cent, further driving demand for fresh produce across borders.

Productivity and the power of information

To facilitate and sustain this progress and growth however, support for smallholder farmers is key. While many struggle to make ends meet, through the utilisation of agtech they can play a huge role in solving the world food shortage, improving food safety and addressing food security issues, all key drivers in attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #2 of Zero Hunger. “Putting simple, intuitive, effective technology into the hands of these smallholder famers’ hands is the core goal of our agtech platforms, along with providing access to financial solutions specifically created with this end user in mind. This underscores MoData’s commitment to the UN SDG of Zero Hunger and helping its clients take proactive steps to tackle this issue on the continent,” says Turnbull.

Additionally, MoData’s agtech tools and solutions have a core role to play in driving and facilitating progress towards achieving UN SDG #12 of Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG #15 of Life on Land, relating to the protection, restoration and promotion of sustainable use of ecosystems.

Improved digital connectivity is essential to facilitate growth, and Africa is already seeing an improved uptake in e-services, including mobile banking, spurred on by the COVID-19 crisis. Mobile connectivity is expected to grow from 45 per cent to 55 per cent over the next 10 years, opening up agtech solutions to around 85 per cent of smallholder farmers via both smart and feature phones.

MoData’s innovative technological solutions can be used to address a range of challenges, and include crop and livestock management, genomics, satellite imagery and weather tracking, anti-stock theft devices, block chain-based supply chain automation and online loan and insurance applications. “Our platforms help our partners increase yield, reduce costs and mitigate risks for farmers,” says Turnbull.

Registration of a farm on MoData’s platforms enables the farmer to record critical farming operations online and utilise an array of technological monitoring and information services. This includes the use of satellite imagery and weather patterning to analyse various factors that affect the success and profitability of crops and livestock, and assist the farmer to pre-empt losses.

The platform assists with livestock management, enabling farmers to track the value chain of livestock from vaccinations and feed through to export information, to maximise animal yield and profitability. DNA testing is also available for animal health, and farmers receive regular information and easy-to-interpret data insights so that they can make informed decisions.

A similar offering exists for crop management, including the incorporation of field-level sensors and integrated satellite imaging to provide data and artificial intelligence-based analytics which positively impact annual yields. “With satellite analytics, regular crop market reports and automated report generation, this is a true value proposition for all of our clients who service the agricultural sector, improving outputs and reducing input costs,” says Turnbull.

For many livestock farmers, stock theft is an ongoing problem that threatens their livelihoods, with tags and branding proving ineffective in tackling the issue. This can be overcome by placing a cryptographic sensor in the rumen of a cow, which makes it identifiable for life. MoData’s agtech partners work with governments to place antenna in abattoirs, livestock markets, border crossing and other key points, and these antennae can pick up the identity of livestock that do not belong and send out a warning to authorities and farmers.

IoT technology is also used for product tracking and tracing, providing a tamper proof digital footprint. MoData’s blockchain-based export health certificate and supply chain automation solution includes Regulatory, Trade and Supply Chain documents as well as Cold Chain tracking, reducing risks and costs and ensuring efficient delivery.

Connecting capital and farmers

Despite agriculture’s contribution to GDP, traditionally farmers ­ both globally and in Africa – are financially underserved. Farming is a high-risk business, but the smart use of data by banks, financial institutions and insurers can minimise the risks associated with loan offerings and financial assistance. MoData addresses this imbalance through its Risk Intelligence platform which assists financial services, insurance, agriculture and trade industry to connect capital to farmers using scientific data-driven solutions.

Through utilising near real-time crop and livestock monitoring data combined with improved fraud detection and monitoring, the platform allows these industries to conduct thorough risk assessment, effectively reducing barriers of entry for farmers when it comes to accessing credit and insurance. An online application and approval process further improves the user-experience for farmers. Once credit or insurance is granted, data analysis enables performance tracking of crops and livestock to enable mitigation of risk related to capital provided.

These plug-and-play technology stacks enable customer uptake with minimal interruption to existing platforms.

“By harnessing agtech to positively impact farming in Africa and by offering solutions that address challenges within the agricultural sector, MoData is continuing to assist its customers in their journeys to digitise and automate business processes,” says Turnbull.

MoData’s agtech solutions underscore the positive impact digital innovations can have on the sector and the economy. These tools can play an important role in improving productivity, enhancing access to markets and facilitating informed decision-making processes, all of which will take Africa closer to attaining the UN SDGs.

To find out more about MoData’s agtech offerings, click here

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