NAIROBI, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank on Thursday called on Africa to embrace use of technology which it said is the key to the transformation of agriculture in the continent.
Ladisy Chengula, the World Bank's Lead Agriculture Economist, said the continent stands a better chance of advancing food security through accurate climate data received from cutting edge innovations.
"Technology could be the game changer in boosting agricultural productivity and resilience in a sustainable way," Chengula said during the East Africa Digital conference in Nairobi.
He noted that while agricultural productivity in the continent has picked up in recent years, it still lags behind other regions.
Chengula said that one in four people in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) is currently chronically undernourished, adding that in the coming years, Africa's food system will be further strained by a population that is projected to rise by 1.3 billion by 2050.
Chengula said that the lender is incorporating precision technology into its agriculture projects around the world.
"We are exploring internet enabled smart irrigation devices that combine automated soil and water sensors and cloud based data analytics to help boost crop yields while cutting water use," he added.
"Throughout Africa, start-ups and other institutions are leveraging digital technology in transformative ways," Chengula said.
He cited Hello Tractor that has been reversing the trend of low mechanization by allowing farmers to hire affordable tractors through their mobile phones in Nigeria and Kenya, adding that the start-up that served many stallholder farmers to date, reports a 200 percent increase in customer's yield.
He commended Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda for leading in adoption of innovation in Eastern Africa.
"Given that the internet now offers means to communicating like never seen before, it is changing the way governments, populations and the private sector engage as well as facilitating regional and global actions," he added.