Unicef x Small Farmers

Unicef x Small Farmers

The University of Pretoria, and UNICEF have partnered with Social Coding to engage smallholder farmers to connect with the FABI diagnostic clinic via its digital platform.

Technologies related to the 4th Industrial Revolution have significant potential in supporting farmers (large-scale and smallholder farmers) to increase their productivity and competitiveness. The challenge, however, is to ensure that whilst we invest in developing new technologies, there is a focus on making the research results relevant, with implications for deployment at farm level, accessible and available to farmers, e.g., hand-held devices and decision-support tools. Often technological tools are inaccessible to smallholder farmers in the country. Many “new” technologies are not so new, but perhaps are not as widely used due to constraints related to access, affordability, awareness, or slow adoption of technologies on a larger scale.

FABI and Grain SA have partnered to offer disease diagnostic services to grain farmers nationally. This includes specialist laboratory support for pathogen and pest identification, information sources, reference collections and expert knowledge. The FABI Diagnostic Clinic (which also serves other sectors of the forestry and agricultural industry) is supported by a central information system and phone App/website based submission, management and communication system.

This FABI and Innovation Africa @UP project is supported by a broad stakeholder and funding base, including Grain SA, Social Coding SA, Cropwatch Africa, DSI and UNICEF and Future Africa. The broader Diagnostic Clinic and associated digital and information tools are supported by an even broader base that includes other government and industry partners in forestry and agriculture.

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