The agricultural sector has the greatest potential to uplift the African economy and address global food shortages, but foreign investors are increasingly choosing Africa as a lucrative opportunity, depriving people of their land and water. Governments have failed to convert the wealth created by economic growth into the opportunities that all Africans can exploit to build a better future. If African farmers increase their productivity and substituted the imports with their own produce, this would provide a powerful impetus to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and supporting a more inclusive pattern of growth.
Launched in 2015, the Agritools project seeks to better understand how African entrepreneurs are using ICTs to solve problems facing the primary sector. Our objective is to discover innovative stories of people working in agriculture, and to better understand the factors that led these people and their organizations to succeed. Specifically, we are interested in young people who are finding alternative ways to impact local growth and development, with the help of cell phones, web platforms, social media and more. To this, we use the techniques of solutions journalism. This approach focuses on exploring successful responses to social problems, and understanding the mechanisms of that success.
Our leading questions are: Which ICT-based models are successfully addressing the problems faced in the primary sector? How are agricultural startups and projects impacting growth and development in the primary sector? What role do ICTs play in increasing young people's interest in the agricultural sector? Can ICTs create new employment opportunities in agriculture?
The Agritools platform offers three tools:
- A crowd-sourced storytelling space where we collect and publish stories from the field, giving voice to the African ICT for agriculture initiatives
- An interactive map where all stories will be published and geo-located
- A Youtube channel where we broadcast short video documentaries with stories and interviews from the Netherlands, Italy, Senegal, Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana
We want our stories to have a positive impact on the lives of people both locally and globally. Therefore, we’ve established partnerships with both European and African media outlets, creating synergy among journalists from different countries. Our work supports, encourages, and facilitates innovation in the agricultural sector. We tell the story of how digital innovation is transforming agriculture, and transforming Africa. Through this network, and through the stories, videos, and reports that we publish, youth in Africa and beyond can learn about the value of the agricultural sector and the opportunities it presents.
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