Ministry of Agriculture director of planning services Rodwell Mzondo has hailed digitisation of all sectors of the economy as critical to increasing productivity gains and resilience to the effects of climate change on agricultural production.
He said this in Lilongwe on Thursday during a regional validation workshop on the role of digital technology in climate adaptation in agriculture in Malawi.
Mzondo said agricultural digitisation is equally important for the agriculture sector because climate variability directly impacts its activities.
He said agricultural digitisation will help farmers, especially in disaster-prone areas, to adapt to climate change through irrigation and other technologies, thereby producing bumper yields despite climate change effects like erratic rains and dry spells.
Said Mzondo: “Agricultural digitisation is important as the agricultural sector is one of the hallmarks in the socio-economic development of the country, which includes attraction of foreign currency.”
International Water Management Institute’s (IWMI) senior international researcher responsible for economics Greenwell Matchaya said digital agriculture offers farmers the opportunity to increase production, save costs in the long-term and eliminate various risks.
He observed that over-dependence on rain-fed farming and lack of investment capacity in digital mechanisation are some of the major factors affecting the local agriculture sector.
Said Matchaya: “Farmers’ perception on the importance and availability of digital agricultural services is integral in comparison to the manual crop and livestock management.
“There is a need to upscale digital technology use.”
Mzuzu Agricultural Development Division crops officer Owen Chirwa said agricultural digitalisation will help to detect, monitor and manage pest infestations in both animal and crop husbandries.
“Pests and diseases remote monitoring will enhance traditional pest control methods,” he said.
The gathering attracted stakeholders involved in digital technologies in the area of climate adaptation to glean insights into the best ways to increase the use of digital agriculture to provide decision makers within and outside the public sector with research-based evidence on mainstreaming agricultural digitalisation.
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