Leveraging Digital Tools to Boost Productivity

About fifty actors from the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) and the private agricultural sector met virtually today to discuss the opportunities digital tools offer when it comes to scaling-up technologies.

At the initiative of CORAF, the half-day information workshop provided a platform for NARS actors to become aware of the potential that digital tools have to highlight the results of their research.

“Digital tools nowadays offer enormous opportunities to give great visibility to the technologies developed in laboratories and therefore help their use and adoption,” says Dr. Caroline Makamto Sobgui, a Scaling Expert at CORAF.

Therefore, the institutions constituting the NARS were invited to have an effective online presence and leverage digital’s potential for the popularization of the technologies.

CORAF, as the leader in agricultural innovation in West and Central Africa, sets an example in this area, making use of its website, its pages on social media (FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagramYouTube), and several other web-based platforms: FeSeRWAM, WASIX, the Seed Demand Forecasting Tool and the Market for Agricultural Innovations and Technologies (MITA)

MITA, an Efficient Tool for All

Designed and hosted by CORAF with support from the World Bank, MITA is a platform that catalogs and highlights a myriad of agricultural technologies and innovations developed by researchers from West and Central Africa. 

“The platform constitutes a strategic axis of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) which aims the adoption of quality technologies and innovations, access to markets and free trade,” says Dr. Caroline.

It tackles the challenges of African agriculture and its modernization, including low yield, low productivity and post-harvest losses, malnutrition and poverty, and the challenges of globalization.

MITA’s vision is to increase the use and adoption of the best agricultural technologies and innovations for the transformation of agriculture in the sub-region.”

Dr. Hippolyte Affognon, Coordinator of the Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education, and Development in West Africa (PAIRED) Program

MITA is, therefore, a powerful tool that helps promote technologies for improving agricultural productivity and increasing farmers’ income.

However, for the platform to be fully effective, all agricultural sector actors in the sub-region must take ownership of it.

“MITA is not a tool for CORAF, but a tool for all actors in the agricultural sector in the sub-region, and it’s therefore critical that they consider it like that and take the ownership especially for its regular update and use, otherwise it won’t be effective,” emphasized Dr. Sobgui.

There are 236 technologies on the platform, classified into nine value chains: aquaculture, maize, rice, bananas and plantains, livestock, dry cereals, fruits and legumes, roots and tubers, mangrove rice. 

It should be noted that this classification, including the breakdown of the technologies currently available on the platform by country, aligns with the nine (09) National Centers of Specialization and Excellence (NCoS and NCoE) of CORAF.

Yet, as the platform is dynamic, this classification is therefore not rigid and could change over time.

To launch the data visualization, click on the play button ▶️ at the center of the infographic or at the top left. You can move from one infographic to another one using the buttons ➡️ and ⬅️ at the top left.

MITA is a web-based platform and a mobile application that will soon be available, which will make it easier for actors to use on mobile devices.

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Today’s virtual meeting brought together technologies developers from NARS and affiliates, the heads of the agricultural council, and the communication services’ managers of the national research structures of six (06) West African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal.

In terms of objectives, it allowed NARS and agricultural sector actors:

– To understand the potential of digital platforms for agricultural development;

– To have a good knowledge of the new version of the MITA platform (MITA 2.0);

– To establish a roadmap for the regular updating of information by participants from each country; and

– To become aware of their role in the operation and updating of the MITA platform so that it can demonstrate its usefulness.