Agri­cul­ture on the edge of a green revo­lu­tion

The Witness - Wheels - - BUSINESS -

AGRI­CUL­TURE stands on the edge of a sec­ond green revo­lu­tion.

This revo­lu­tion is about how agri­cul­ture uses tech­nol­ogy to im­prove out­put and ad­dress the need for greater food se­cu­rity glob­ally.

Th­ese are some of the highlights of PwC’s Africa Agribusi­nesses In­sights Sur­vey 2016.

“There is a des­per­ate need for food se­cu­rity and there­fore higher agri­cul­tural out­put, with­out com­pro­mis­ing re­sources in the process,” said agribusi­ness in­dus­try leader for PwC Africa, Frans Weil­bach, in a state­ment.

Ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion are key to the fu­ture of agri­cul­ture as agribusi­nesses op­er­ate against a back­ground of cli­mate change, wa­ter scarcity and other en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns. “Agribusi­nesses are mak­ing changes to go hi-tech. From data-gath­er­ing drones to ar­ti­fi­cial-in­tel­li­gence farm­ing, tech­nol­ogy is mak­ing the sec­tor more pre­cise and ef­fi­cient,” said Weil- bach.

Agri­cul­ture is viewed as a crit­i­cal in­dus­try for Africa due to its eco­nomic po­ten­tial, and is pro­jected to be­come a $1 tril­lion in­dus­try in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa by 2030.

More than half (58,8%) of the sur­vey re­spon­dents con­sid­ered in­vest­ment in Africa as an op­por­tu­nity for their busi­nesses to ex­pand.

The top four coun­tries they planned to in­vest in are Zam­bia, Botswana, Tan­za­nia and South Africa.

PwC’s sur­vey was car­ried out among a group of African agribusi­nesses fo­cused on agri­cul­tural and re­lated ser­vices to pri­mary pro­duc­ers.

Sur­vey re­spon­dents were less op­ti­mistic about rev­enue growth over the next 12 months.

The ma­jor­ity of agribusi­nesses (46,2%) were ex­pect­ing rev­enue growth of zero to five per­cent, and 26,9% ex­pect it to be be­tween six per­cent and 10%.

The big­gest chal­lenges cited by busi­ness lead­ers were ac­cess to tech­nol­ogy, the scarcity of nat­u­ral re­sources and sup­ply side un­cer­tain­ties.

The agribusi­nesses also felt there is a long way to go for bet­ter sup­port from the govern­ment in the sec­tor. For ex­am­ple, they be­lieved that gov­ern­ments do not of­fer suf­fi­cient tax in­cen­tives. Gov­ern­ments are also not do­ing enough to de­velop skilled work­ers in the sec­tor.

The ma­jor­ity of agribusi­nesses were of the view that cli­mate change will have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on agri­cul­ture in fu­ture — 41,2% in­di­cated there would be a big short-term impact and 35,3% be­lieved there would be an impact over 20 years.

About 35,3% of agribusi­ness lead­ers in­di­cated they are con­sid­er­ing in­vest­ment in re­new­able en­ergy, while 29,4% have done so. The main forms are so­lar en­ergy and bio­gas.

— Busi­ness Edi­tor.

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