AGRA, Microsoft extend partnership to support digital agricultural transformation in Africa

AFRICA – AGRA, an alliance led by Africans with roots in farming communities across the continent, and technology provider Microsoft, have expanded their partnership to advance digital agricultural transformation in Africa.

The partnership, formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding, builds on previous work between AGRA and Microsoft that focused on supporting AGRA’s digital transformation as it works to improve food security in Africa.

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Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice-President and President, National Transformation Partnerships, Microsoft said, “I am delighted that Microsoft is expanding its partnership with The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

“Helping to deliver against the UNSDG of Zero Hunger by improving food security for millions of households, is vital for a fairer and more sustainable global economy. Digitalization is key to scaling impact and driving positive change.”

The new phase of the relationship will promote digital innovation and technology as an enabler to connect the agriculture ecosystems, sustainably integrating stakeholders in the service of strategic value chains.

“At AGRA, we realized early on that digital innovation is critical in advancing food security and poverty eradication in Africa.

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“Our partnership with Microsoft will directly support governments, SMEs and farmers, by bringing the digital tools needed to build resilient food systems,” said AGRA President, Dr. Agnes Kalibata.

Collaboration between the two organizations started in 2019, when Microsoft and AGRA co-created the AgriBot as a digital solution for localized extension and advisory services for smallholder farmers.

The AgriBot works through inclusive omni-channel application experiences like Short Message Service (SMS) and WhatsApp for prioritized value chains.

“Our partnership with AGRA forms part of Microsoft’s ongoing investment in agritech across the continent as we support digital transformation in the sector.

“We’re excited to continue building locally relevant technology solutions that address the local farmers’ needs and deliver meaningful impact,” said Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh, Strategic Partnership Lead, Microsoft Africa Transformation Office.

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In extending their relationship, the two organizations will leverage on the Microsoft programs and tools to aggregate and enrich the various SME programs within AGRA and utilize the Tech for Social Impact team to support AGRA in its digital transformation journey.

The launch of the third phase of the AgriBot to develop a sustainability model of the platform through exploring partnerships with third parties, in addition to scaling out to all the counties that have the VBA program.

The parties also seek to develop partnerships with other private sector companies like Bayer, Yara, Syngenta, Nestle, Rabobank, OLAM and others to get a broad-based buy in and explore opportunities for sustainable agriculture and explore use cases like digital value chain integration, smart agriculture, water conservation, traceability, and carbon sequestration.

In addition, they are focused on empowering youth for agriculture transformation by leveraging Microsoft skilling programs and tools like Microsoft Community Training (MCT) to scale AGRA programs on agribusiness, entrepreneurship, and employability.

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

The collaboration will explore the use of AgriBot as an e-extension solution to compliment the MoALFC e-voucher system thereby taking digital solutions to the last mile, where farmers realize the most benefits.

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