Agriculture remains a prominent sector in Africa and it poses heightening economic potentials. Asides from having the lowest cost of production in the world, the continent is regarded as a key center of agricultural production because of the availability of arable land.
Even with a significant part of Africa being heavily dependent on agriculture, its full agricultural potential has remained untapped. Improvement in agricultural outcome is dependent on adequate use of arable land and improvement in productivity.
Agricultural advancement drives economic growth which will be unachievable without notable investments in specific areas in the sector cutting across infrastructure, market, trade, electricity, and most importantly, technology.
Secure Agric is an agricultural value chain startup company that’s aimed at revolutionizing the African agricultural value chain by erecting a world-class supply chain on the blockchain network.
Secure Agric aims to integrate the fragmented segments of the value chain and build a secured trust driven value chain based on blockchain technology.
The agricultural sector is faced with a lot of challenges that have, over the years, served as a hindrance to attaining its full potential. Here are some of these challenges and how Secure Agric stands to address them.
Inefficient supply chain- post harvest food loss
Supply chains, especially in developing countries are usually long and complex. According to estimates, losses in the supply chain accounts for about 30% of agricultural production, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced for human consumption does not make it to the consumer. Post-harvest food loss comes up along the value chain from harvest through to the point at which food is made available to consumers. Farmers are mostly accountable for the losses.
While increasing agricultural productivity in Africa may serve to ease the demand for more food, lessening PHL is also needed to ensure that additional production is consumed rather than lost. Efforts made towards reducing PHL should be intensified so that more of the food produced actually makes it to the consumer.
However, it is motivating to note that efforts to handle PHL are being executed by some market players proposing many interventions and technologies. One example of such is Secure Agric. The system aims to minimize food losses by ensuring food produced are traceable till they make it to the consumer, thereby increasing the value for farmers and their agro-products, limiting food wastage, and at the same time, bringing small scale farmers out of poverty by increasing their income and making food available to all.
Market links and distribution network
The agricultural sector has the most fragmented supply chain, ample with intermediaries. The chain enables the involvement of multiple parties. Farmers are known for the distribution of their farm produce at a very cheap price while consumers purchase at a very elevated price. The intermediaries end up with more of the additional value.
With blockchain technology, price transparency upon exchange of values is ensured. AgriKonnect, one of the diverse products of Secure Agric, is aimed towards connecting African farmers directly to domestic and international consumers of food. This would impact significantly on the income and lives of smallholder farmers simultaneously providing more non-farming job opportunities for the expanding urban population and also increase the stability and sustainability of the food supply in Africa.
Realizing the real boom in agricultural production
Secure Africa is working towards constructing a world-class agricultural supply chain based on the blockchain network. With their varieties of products and solutions cutting across their utility token AgriKoin, AgriKonnect, SmartAgrik, AgPay, and other interesting innovations, Secure Agric is set to create the perfect bridge that would lead to the realization of a full agricultural potential in Africa.
Agrikonnect (supply chain automation and tracking)
AgriKonnect is aimed at simplifying the agro commodity trading by providing farmers access to the market without leveraging intermediaries/brokers. With aid from blockchain technology, the system enables end-to-end visibility of the agricultural supply chain which allows for a completely transparent and traceable supply chain. The system will enable buyers and sellers to interact in a blockchain-backed environment, thereby, guaranteeing protection on both sides.
AgriKonnect allows every participant of the supply chain to automate data transfer and delivery processes from the point of production to the customers. The users would get a full picture of the products they are purchasing. An unchangeable blockchain record is taken as items move along the supply chain.
Apart from these, the system also allows its users to connect in a peer-to-peer lending environment. Farmers with less funds would be able to get funds from their peers who may have a short term loan to give out.
AGPay is a payment platform that operates both on the traditional and peer-to-peer level (fiat and crypto payment platform). Secure Agric looks to digitize business-to-person (B2P) payments between agribusinesses and farmers as well as government-to-person (G2P) payments, between government and farmers in agriculture. This would serve as an entry point to financial inclusion for farmers while ensuring accountability and transparency.
Agrikoin (secure agric’s utility token)
AgriKoin is a cryptocurrency that would be used across all Secure Agric platforms, as a means of receiving payments from customers. It would serve as a native transactional currency and would be used as a generally accepted means for value exchange.
AgriKard is a debit card for the utility token, AgriKoin. With this card, transactions can be made from anywhere. It is not limited to crypto transfers and payment alone, the card would also facilitate funds withdrawal in cash (fiat currency) as the card would be directly linked to users’ AgriKoin accounts as well as local currency accounts.
AgriWallet is a crypto wallet and trading system that serves as a store of cryptocurrencies. It is also a trading environment where sending, receiving and trading of AgriKoin and other available cryptocurrencies can take place.
SmartAgrik aims to furnish farmers with robust technologies for accelerating digital agriculture in Africa. The system would focus majorly on three most important technological aspects: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet Of Things (IoT), and drone technologies.
Artificial Intelligence will assist in preventing the increasing rate of loss of food produce to pests and diseases. AI helps with the visualization and analytics of soil and crops for effortless identification of new and existing diseases and also make possible recommendations for solutions.
IoT technology would impact significantly on agriculture in the aspect of evaluating agricultural data and making data-driven decisions. This is realized with smart technologies like automated machines, driverless cars, and connected devices. Drone technologies would replace labor-intensive and potentially harmful use of backpack sprayers and other similar negative health impact equipment.
Digital technologies have become prominent for generating positive impacts on various segments of the community. Integrating it into the agricultural sector is yet another way of transforming Africa’s agricultural sector and bringing the continent to a new era in agriculture.
The potential benefits of drones and other technology-based tools in solving various long-running agricultural problems cannot be ignored. Investing considerably on the right innovations and technologies is the key to advancing Africa’s agricultural sector. This will help in strengthening the resilience of African farmers and help the continent ward off mass starvation.