SIEKA GATABAKISieka Gatabaki has over 20 years of experience working across sectors including finance, telecommunication, and agriculture more recently. During his stint in the telecom sector, he was responsible for financial inclusion through mobile money interventions. Considering that the digital divide is one of the biggest divides Africa is experiencing right now, working in the agriculture sector presented Sieka Gatabaki with an opportunity to identify the barriers and solutions to this divide. Without a clear digital inclusion strategy, many African states will continue to languish in poverty and poor standards of living for the majority of their citizens. It thus made sense to him to look at the agricultural sector, which employs directly and indirectly over 70% of Africa’s population and is the perfect vertical to explore technology innovations and adoption.
With a rich experience working on solutions ranging from digital financial services to digital information and market access solutions for smallholder farmers, and your expertise in the digital usage and adoption, what do you reckon are three factors that drive a technology-led transformation in the sector?
Could you tell us a little more about the AgriFin Accelerate Program at Mercy Corps? How does the program enable capacity building and training for smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia?
How do programs such as AgriFin ensure their sustainability in the long run?
From your experience, how impactful has the adoption of technology solutions been for the different actors in the agri supply chain?
Studies demonstrate that women adopt agri-technologies at lower levels and slower rates than men do, partly because many are deprived of access to new technologies due to gender-specific barriers. In light of AgriFin’s efforts towards gender equality, how is this digital gender gap being diminished?
Driven by the possibility of a better income, more and more youngsters are migrating to urban areas, particularly when there is an urgent need for a substantial increase in agricultural productivity to support the growing population’s needs. Considering that the agri-food sector extends beyond mere farm-level production to various other processes along the value chain, can this sector provide enough lucrative opportunities for the job-seeking youth?
What would be AgriFin Accelerate Program’s vision for the smallholder farmers worldwide?