I was delighted to present the mFarmer Initiative at the Chicago Council on Affair’s Third Annual Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security on the eve of the 2012 G8 Summit. President Obama, G8 and African leaders, business and agriculture experts met in Washington DC to discuss the need to advance agriculture, food security and nutrition. The critical role of the private sector, including smallholders, to address global food security and agriculture development was one of the focus areas debated at the event.
President Obama announced a multi-billion dollar investment for African Agriculture as part of a new alliance between government leaders and private sector partners to reduce hunger and lift 50 million people out of poverty; and 45 companies pledged to invest $3 billion USD to speed up the delivery of agriculture advancements. As an example of working with the private sector, President Obama committed to speeding up the development and delivery of innovation by tapping “the mobile phone revolution in Africa”. Watch the video below.
I presented the mFarmer Initiative during the Innovations in Agriculture session, which embraced the role of connection technologies – internet, mobile phones and social media to accelerate agriculture development. The session highlighted the seismic shift that has come about because of these technologies and the amount of data and information that is not only generated from these tools, but that can also be shared on these platforms. I joined representatives from other exciting agricultural initiatives, including Digital Green and J-PAL.
By showcasing the mFarmer Initiative, I highlighted how mobile phones are increasingly in the hands of people in all parts of the world, including smallholder farmers, and that new mobile services are being developed to share critical information with these farmers and other agriculture stakeholders. I emphasised that by working with the private sector mobile phone industry, development agencies and agriculture organisations, these new services are able to rapidly reach scale and be made sustainable.
It was noteworthy to see the role of mobile and agriculture being recognised on the world stage by leading policy makers and influencers and I have no doubt that further commitment and partnerships between the mobile and agriculture industries will continue to be established.