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Technology to drive SA agriculture toward sustainability

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Source: Cape Business News, 23 April 2021, photo credit: The New Economy

The effects of climate change on the industry are threatening the viability of the sector as an engine of economic development. Technology and the introduction of high-impact technological solutions has, however, proven to be an enabler in assisting farmers and stakeholders in addressing and alleviating challenges.

As the world marks Earth Day today, agriculture’s role as a critical sector, driving growth and job creation in the South African economy has come back under the spotlight.

The effects of climate change on the industry are threatening the viability of the sector as an engine of economic development. Technology and the introduction of high-impact technological solutions has, however, proven to be an enabler in assisting farmers and stakeholders in addressing and alleviating these challenges.

“The sector, for example, was able to maintain double-digit growth in the second quarter of 2020 when the rest of the South African economy saw its sharpest decline with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracting by 51%,” says Asif Valley, National Technology Officer at Microsoft South Africa.

“This period also saw South Africa become the second-largest exporter of fresh citrus in the world, contributing significantly to job creation and economic activity, particularly in the country’s rural areas.”

These milestones highlight the value of the sector, especially in a constrained economic climate. The challenges are compounded by the effects of climate change on the industry, with rising temperatures and growing incidences of drought caused by less rainfall, acting as major threats to the viability of the sector as an engine of economic development.
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