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Microsoft partners with AGRA to digitise agriculture in Africa

by Charity Mbaka
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Microsoft has partnered with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to build agri-tech solutions.

The collaboration was facilitated through Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative. It’s main aim is to support AGRA’s digital transformation in a bid to improve food security for 30 million farming households across 11 countries by 2021.

The partnership, which will see the two leverage AI and big data, will involve the Kenyan government, and will soon expand to Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi and Ethiopia.

Under the terms of the partnership, AGRA grantees will also receive support to improve their digital offering using big data and AI. They will also be taken through some of Microsoft’s existing programmes, such as co-managing an internship programme. It will also provide co-design and development of technology solutions to support AGRA programmes and processes.

Some of the AGRA grantees that have received support include:

  • The National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK)
  • East Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF)
  • East African Grain Council (EAGC)
  • Amtech Technologies
  • Local Development Research Institute (LDRI)
  • and supported SMEs

Microsoft and AGRA are also partnering with the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives (MoALFC) to significantly accelerate the transformation of the agriculture ecosystem in line with the recently launched Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) for digitisation.

Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Chief of Party at AGRA, Vanessa Adams, said, “We look forward to next year to deepen each area of work we have begun together both technically and geographically. We very much appreciate the opportunity to draw on Microsoft’s digital architecture support on digital ecosystems and big data platforms.”

“We’re excited to continue our work with AGRA in building locally-relevant technology solutions that are mindful of challenges local farmers face, offering solutions to farmers and policy makers alike to deliver meaningful impact,” said, Microsoft 4Afrika Regional Director, Amrote Abdella.

This is another step the tech giant has taken towards its investment in agri-tech across Africa. Microsoft has previously supported several African agri-tech start-ups and companies, among them; SunCulture, Virtual City, N-Frnds and Twiga Foods.

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