Microsoft and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to co-create technology solutions in agriculture.

The partnership between Microsoft, through its 4Afrika initiative, will support AGRA’s digital transformation as it works to improve food security for 30 million farming households across 11 countries by 2021.

The MOU aims to encourage the use of big data and AI in the digital transformation of AGRA. The partners will work with the Kenyan government and then expand to Nigeria, Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Ethiopia.

The partnership will also provide:

  • Support to AGRA grantees to improve their digital offering by exploring areas of use of big data and artificial intelligence in digital transformation of AGRA.
  • Skills development support to AGRA through leveraging existing Microsoft programmes, including co-managing an internship programme.
  • Co-design and development of technology solutions to support AGRA programmes and processes.

The partnership has also provided initial support to AGRA grantees including the National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK), East Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), East African Grain Council (EAGC), Amtech Technologies and the Local Development Research Institute (LDRI) and supported SMEs.

The latest partnership follows on from the initial collaboration announced a year ago during the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF). During the past year, Microsoft 4Afrika and AGRA have worked on many engagements. Some of these include work with the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, the development of the KuzaBot chatbot to support the Village Based Advisor programme and farmers, and the development of the Food Security War Room in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft and AGRA are also partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives (MoALFC) to significantly accelerate the transformation of the agriculture ecosystem in line with the recently launched Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) for digitisation.

This partnership forms part of Microsoft’s ongoing investment in agri-tech across the continent, including the expansion of FarmBeats. In addition, Microsoft has supported a number of African agri-tech start-ups and companies, including SunCulture, Virtual City, N-Frnds and Twiga Foods.

Microsoft 4Afrika Regional Director, Amrote Abdella, said: “We’re excited to continue our work with AGRA in building locally-relevant technology solutions that are mindful of challenges local farmers face, offering solutions to farmers and policy makers alike to deliver meaningful impact.”

Founded in 2006, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), is an African-based organization that seeks to catalyze Agriculture Transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives.