Stocktaking of Digital Transformation in Agri-Food-Systems: Insights from the D4Ag Portfolio
The latest trends and interventions shaping the digital revolution in our agriculture and food systems
The Added Value of This Article
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Value add for readers
- Become familiar with the GIZ Digitalization for Agriculture (D4Ag) Portfolio, and be updated on first results after the most recent survey
- Understand the trends and emerging areas of focus within the D4Ag Portfolio, enabling practitioners to stay ahead of the curve and align their efforts with the evolving landscape of the digital transformation
- Learn about the challenges and opportunities associated with scaling digital solutions in international development, providing practitioners with valuable lessons and guidance for successful implementation and impact
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GIZ D4Ag Main Categories & Bundled Services (own illustration)
However, there is evidence suggesting a diversification in new registrations, particularly in financial services, market linkages, and supply chain management, which account for 43 percent of new registrations compared to 30 percent of the overall inventory. This trend aligns with the evolving international context of supply chain due diligence and the increasing demand for traceability. It demonstrates how digitalization can effectively enhance and adapt existing systems for improved outcomes.
Unsurprisingly, the areas which are least covered by the interventions are general infrastructure support and developments in the field of hardware and Internet of Things (IoT) equipment such as smart sensors or automated irrigation control systems. In line with the general GIZ activities, there is a strong preference towards Digitalization for Agriculture services, development of human capital and general D4Ag ecosystem support over the physical aspects of D4Ag.
Sensors, drones or weather stations are important to develop data resources and provide the foundations of analytics in agriculture in the future. Such data (see Figure 2) play an immensely important role in a sustainable agri-food transformation. Yet the accessibility to agricultural data is often very limited and in certain contexts also shows incomplete availability. Working towards better accessibility while filling the data gaps that still exist is crucial and needs to be done in an open, interoperable and user-friendly approach.
Agricultural Data examples collected by GIZ interventions (own illustration)
The recognized potential of digitalization to transform agricultural markets in Africa and around the world and the interest in agricultural data have led to significant investments in the market-oriented development of digital tools and applications. However, the progress made so far is often limited to pilot applications, which frequently fail to interact, be scaled up and developed into fully-fledged digital solutions in support of the digital transformation of our agri-food systems.
Only 16 percent are implemented in close coordination with the public sector where the service will be handed over and financed by public resources. A sustainable outcome in this scenario is the successful transfer of responsibility to a partner and the continuation and growth of the service. To realize the full potential of digital innovations in Africa, further development of these solutions and more nuanced evidence from both successful and unsuccessful scaling efforts are needed – also within the GIZ D4Ag Portfolio!
We would like to thank all colleagues who have contributed to this D4Ag Survey over recent years. We hope to publish more articles in the future to increase our knowledge-sharing, and to disseminate more results and trends from the Digital for Agriculture Portfolio.
The analysis is based on a set of questions that the Sector Project Agriculture sends (bi-)annually to the participating projects. The survey is created through the platform “KoboToolbox”, which is an intuitive easy-to-use software that helps to collect, analyze, and manage data for surveys, monitoring, evaluation, and research.
Both work on digitalization and sustainable agri-food systems.