News Updates:

Embracing Agritech solutions for a more resilient agricultural sector

Embracing Agritech solutions for a more resilient agricultural sector
16-05-23 / Staff Writer

Johannesburg - A showcase of the newest trends and technologies is Standard Bank’s promise to Nampo visitors at the 55th annual presentation of the Harvest Day, taking place from 16 – 19 May 2023.

Since its inception, Nampo has been a leader in showcasing agricultural innovation and providing a one-stop platform to agricultural enthusiasts, and the sector more broadly, in South Africa.

The South African agricultural sector is matured and highly diversified, having shown resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has demonstrated positive performance for four consecutive seasons.

With the South African agricultural industry being export-oriented, agricultural exports were up for the third consecutive year in 2022.  This can mainly be attributed to the favourable production conditions and higher commodity prices. In value terms, South African exports increased by 4% year-on-year, reaching US$12.8 billion in 2022.

Considering the bottlenecks currently plaguing the sector, such as the unrelenting loadshedding, losses were more than offset by a bumper field crop harvest, attractive field crop prices and the expansion of exports in 2022.

“Appreciating that the sector is cyclical, and currently facing numerous challenges, it is indeed encouraging to note that good growth was achieved over the past four seasons.  However, in the same breath, it is critical that farmers prepare for the cyclical downturn by having risk-mitigating solutions in place and adopting new technologies,” says Nico Groenewald, Standard Bank’s Head of Agribusiness SA.

The integration of innovation and digitisation in agriculture presents major opportunities for the sector. These Agritech solutions can significantly boost access to finance for agricultural inputs across the value chain, and drive an increase in production capacity and returns.

The adoption and implementation of Agritech, coupled with innovative ways of doing agribusiness, are bolstered by fast-occurring climate change, which is increasingly becoming a greater threat to agricultural production.

According to a recent report by Harvard University, global warming has resulted in about a 21% decline in farming productivity since the 1960s. Consequently, ensuring food security is still a crucial concern, given the rising global population and alarming rates of malnutrition, especially in developing countries.

It is also estimated that one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted along the value chain.

“It has never been more important for all relevant stakeholders to play their part in finding solutions to help solve these challenges.  For our part, at Standard Bank, we believe that it is our purpose to drive Africa’s growth.  We are more than the leading financial service provider by assets - we are invested in being catalysts for economic growth, and improving lives and livelihoods in the communities we operate in,” adds Groenewald.

This year, Standard Bank will highlight OneFarm Share, an integrated Agritech platform powered by AgFinTech Hello Choice, at its exhibition. The bank’s partnership with AgFinTech provides a digital solution where emerging and smallholder and commercial farmers can sell or donate their produce into new markets.

Nikki Neumann, Executive Head of Agribusiness Platforms and Innovation at Standard Bank, says the initiative is focused on reducing food waste on farms and at fresh produce markets, accelerating small commercial farmer development and reducing food insecurity.

“Farmers are aware of this need but feel unable to meet it as there is no clear mechanism to manage the requests for donations.  They need an efficient, quick and transparent process to help them to donate food. OneFarm Share brings all the role-players together - from producers and logistics companies to consumers and beneficiaries - under a single digital platform where needs can be identified and addressed,” says Neumann.

Leave a Reply