Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has said that inadequate integration of technologies in the agricultural sector in Africa has contributed to low yields and increased post-harvest losses.
Dr. Jonathan said this during his official unveiling as AATF Goodwill Ambassador at a ceremony in Abuja, Nigeria, in August 2023.
“The use of modern technology has increased productivity in many countries in the world. With technology, smallholder farmers are guaranteed quality harvests and increased yields. For instance, yield increases can be achieved through technologies that protect the crop from insect damage, thus allowing the plant’s full yield potential to be realised,” said Dr. Jonathan.
“I am pleased to be speaking with you today in my capacity as AATF Goodwill Ambassador for Agriculture Technologies in Africa. I am a firm believer in sustainable development and enhancing the prosperity of farmers in Africa through the use of technologies,” he noted.
The former President said that he agreed to serve as the AATF Goodwill Ambassador for agricultural technology in Africa because of his deep belief in the fact that agriculture is the backbone of Africa’s economy, and that technology can contribute enormously to progressing Africa’s agriculture.
“Agriculture lies at the heart of our economies, our cultures, and our livelihoods,” he said, adding that, by extension, agriculture provides Africa with the chance to play a key role in feeding the world’s growing population because it boasts the largest share of arable land globally.
According to him, it is through advancement in agriculture that Africa can attain food and nutrition security, and poverty reduction. He noted that central to this endeavour are the smallholder farmers who feed all, and the promise that agriculture offers to uplift their lives. He called for the need for smallholder farmers to benefit from their sweat and investment in agriculture to live a fulfilling, and a healthy life.
The AATF Ambassador noted that technologies offer new opportunities. For example, by using satellite imagery and drones, precision agriculture is helping in the management of pests and diseases. The timely response through early detection enables farmers to overcome such challenges. When technologies are used in agriculture, they make a difference across humanity and social strata, impacting people, communities and economies.
Earlier, Dr. Canisius Kanangire, Executive Director, AATF, said that the unveiling of Dr. Jonathan as AATF’s Goodwill Ambassador signifies a pivotal moment in the journey towards a brighter future for Africa’s agriculture.
“AATF has long been at the forefront of driving positive change in Africa’s agricultural sector. Through its innovative approach to bridging the gap between science, technology, and farmers, the foundation has demonstrated its commitment to enhancing food security, improving livelihoods, and promoting sustainable agricultural practices.
“Today, we are privileged to welcome a leader of exceptional caliber into the AATF family. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure as the President of Nigeria showcased his unwavering dedication to fostering socio-economic growth and development. This appointment reinforces our belief that by working together, we can harness the power of science and technology to drive progress and prosperity across our continent,” he pointed out.
The ceremony was attended by high government officials, members of the diplomatic community, the agricultural research system in Nigeria and farmers.
The AATF is an international not-for-profit organisation that is empowering smallholder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa with a wide choice of agricultural innovations that contribute to food and nutrition security to generate health and wealth for their families and communities.