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How can Digitalization Contribute to Sustainable Agricultural Transformation in Africa?

High hopes are pinned on digitalisation for the much-needed transformation of African agriculture, but there is little empirical evidence on the nature and impact of digitalisation on smallholder farming. Using a novel classification framework and impact pathways, we examine the landscape of digital agriculture in Kenya – Africa’s Silicon Savannah. We find a slowing trend in the establishment of new digital start-ups since a peak in 2016, but also a shift from generic to farm-specific tools, which provide more farm-tailored advice based on data entered by farmers or obtained with sensors and improved data analytics. Reviewing all digital tools regarding the impact pathways developed, we find great potential to increase farmers’ knowledge and access to inputs, services, and markets, all of which raise productivity and incomes, but limited evidence regarding food & nutrition security as well as the environmental effects and climate resilience.

Published as Hohenheim Working Papers on Social and Institutional Change in Agricultural Development Nr. 022-2024.