by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – A TECHNOLOGY expert has highlighted the significant role broadband can play in ensuring food security in South Africa.
According to Phumza Dyani, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Broadband Infraco, believes technology can enable and extend an ecosystem of all the value chain players within the agriculture sector.
She said the increased use of broadband and technology could add to major strides made by the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in the development of the West Rand, Springbokspan, Witzenberg, Ncora, and Enkangala AgriParks.
These projects are aimed at stimulating the economic activity of subsistence farmers.
Dyani said broadband, technology and the internet ought to feature prominently in the South African National Development Plan (NDP).
Among others, the NDP points to the potential of agriculture in creating close to 1 million new jobs by 2030.
“The NDP identifies the agriculture value chain as one of the job drivers for growth,” Dyani stated.
She said on the other hand, the New Growth Path (NGP) was a national policy broadly aimed at unblocking private investment to address systematic blockages to employment-creating growth.
The blockages include the regulatory framework, infrastructure and skills, she said.
“Most of which may be addressed through access to and use of broadband, the internet and technology.”
Dyani said ensuring a viable ecosystem and the co-ordination of resources was necessary, from all interested and affected parties to guarantee the eradication of hunger and food security threats.
“Generally, the constraint to broadband rollout is the cost of the infrastructure, notwithstanding the benefits that can be gained from the investment.”
Hence, the need to explore alternative commercial models that could help achieve this objective and with a long – term objective.
The sentiments come amid nearly 1 billion people affected by hunger and malnutrition.
A majority of the 795 million undernourished population live in developing countries and rural areas.
– CAJ News