Director of Planning in the Ministry of Agriculture Rodwell Mzondo says digital technology can increase productivity gains in the agricultural sector and also make the Agriculture sector more resilient to negative effects of climate change.
Mzondo was speaking in Lilongwe during the opening of the Regional Validation Workshop on the Role of Digital Technology in Climate Adaptation in Agriculture in Malawi.
According to Mzondo, digital technology important for the agriculture sector because climate variability directly impacts the sector’s activities.
“There are a lot of advantages of digital technology in agriculture. One of them is that if we are to spread or disseminate information from research stations to farmers, we use to do this only using the extension workers out there but this time around with the digital technology we can also upload information on the phones. Farmers can now have information on the phones, they can ask some questions asking the extension workers and in that way they can know what they are supposed to do to adapt the climate change which we are discussing here,” said Mzondo.
Mzondo also noted that the Ministry of Agriculture is diligently working to counter the effects of climate change through the development of sustainable and appropriate programs for both crops and livestock production.
He added that as a Ministry, they are committed to promoting irrigation development and efficient use of water resources, strengthening early warning systems, and harnessing GIS/remote sensing to map drought and flood-prone areas.
In his remarks, Greenwell Matchaya who is Senior International Researcher responsible for economics at International Water Management Institute, said digital technology is very important in farming and it can really improve the productivity because it offers farmers the opportunity to increase production, save costs in the long term and eliminate various risks.
“So digital technology can improve agriculture productivity in many ways, digital technology through remote sensing and artificial intelligence can be leveraged upon to be able to predict when the rains are going to come and whether the rains are going to be sufficient for you to plant and if you leverage on that you can improve agriculture productivity.
“But also, maybe you have your commodities you want to take them to markets but you don’t have information about the place they are buying or the price. With the use of digital you should be in a position of which market is open and what prices you are going to get just by having a mobile application. So, with that if you take advantage you are going to improve the returns to agriculture and in so doing you are going to improve productivity,” said Matchaya.