User uptake of EO innovation often faces significant hurdles because of tech-centric, supply-driven, linear and reductionist approaches to technological transfer. Taking the eponymous nadir as a metaphor, EU’s innovation action on Nurturing Africa’s Digital Revolution for Agriculture (NADiRA) flips the script by embedding EO use in a business-driven approach where iterative user feedback ensures that technology actually meets contextual innovation to nurture emergent demand.
What makes NADiRA unique is that instead of attempting to design putative EO services from the top down, it pilots the incorporation of novel EO products inside emergent digital services for smallholder agriculture, to reduce their deployment and exploitation costs. This is made possible through the dovetailing of NADiRA products into agCelerant, one of the most advanced digital platforms available today to connect producers, bankers, insurers, input suppliers, off-takers, agro-industry and consumers.
Developed by Manobi Africa PLC, agCelerant exploits the concept of phygital agriculture, combining value chain expertise, digital business services and proximal presence to orchestrate the creation of inclusive value in agriculture. NADiRA aims to enrich agCelerant’s capabilities and improve its efficiency by operationally incorporating data extracted from satellite imagery, IoT networks and agronomic models into its service modules, ready to be used by the larger set of customer segments required to solve the complex problem of smallholder financing and market inclusion.
Offering the critical functionality of continuous field validation and combining the strengths of complementary data streams while explicitly acknowledging their relative uncertainties, this arrangement also heralds the future mainstreaming of EO into client facing services by providing more mature channels for EO value addition. Comprising African and European enterprises and research organizations, the NADiRA consortium now enters the pre-commercialization phase, with firm commitments for the deployment of a 2,000,000 farmers’ market in the next five years..
Purpose of the Workshop
During the workshop, the NADiRA consortium and participants will:
1. Expose and discuss under which conditions the digital revolution in Africa may help towards inclusive agricultural transformation, and the role of technological and social innovation in that regard;
2. Show how nimble business models based on local intelligence and innovative public-private partnerships may support the sustainable growth of Copernicus services;
3. Explore sustainable investment opportunities in EO applications for development finance, venture capital and other stakeholders, with a focus on smallholder agriculture.
From 9am to 5pm
Topic 1: The potential of EO technologies
Themes: the power of EO satellites today, the role of COPERNICUS, the challenge of EO downstream applications.
Topic 2: African agriculture – a market for technologies?
Themes: challenges of the African agriculture (e.g. poverty, productivity, financing, climate change, rural unemployment); need for innovative business models; revolution by digital technologies.
Topic 3: how to unleash the potential of agriculture in Africa?
Themes: credit to smallholders, coupling with insurance, business model, the digital revolution in Africa, orchestration of services.
Topic 4: the experience with NADiRA
Themes: brief about NADiRA – the project and the consortium, concrete implementation with pilots, learned lessons, the agCelerant Business Platform, the Geo-Spatial Data Centres (GSDC), the contribution of the Sentinel satellites, the crop models.
Topic 5: Ways forward: the vision of the Consortium
Themes: the business potential for agCelerant, the extended role of the GSDC’s as the “memory” of territories, the financial levies, the policy dimension, and other topics such as crowdfunding, ethical investment.
Topic 6: Round table with a panel of experts
Themes: feedback on the NADiRA vision, suggestions to scale up the NADiRA experience, viewpoints of several stakeholders
Topic 7: The future of digital technologies: roadmap to horizon 2030
Themes: shaping the agricultural sector for the next decade, scaling up investment beyond the H2020 NADiRA seed funding, replication in other market segments