Krishnan, A, Banga, K and Mendez-Parra, M · 2020
, London: Overseas Development Institute

Disruptive technologies in agricultural value chains: Insights from East Africa

Global food demand is expected to increase by somewhere between 59% and 98% by 2050 as the world population reaches an estimated 9.7 billion. Food production is especially critical in Africa, where over 70% of the population rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Against a backdrop of the rapid dwindling of agricultural productivity, the exclusion of women from the work force and the threat of climate change, an increase in the use of agricultural technologies – AgriTech – could help reduce livelihood loss and support inclusive economic transformation.

This working paper explores the implications of the digitalisation of agriculture, with a focus on East Africa. It addresses the following key questions:

What is AgriTech?
What prevents adoption of AgriTech?
What does disruption mean within AgriTech?
What are the pathways through which AgriTech may disrupt livelihoods and support transformation?

Contributors from our Network

Aarti Krishnan

Aarti Krishnan
University of Manchester

Aarti Krishnan is a Hallsworth Research fellow at the University of Manchester. She is a developmental economist, working at the nexus of environment, trade and development. Her areas of expertise include value chain analysis, green growth, agricultural transformation, innovation and knowledge systems, digitalisation and regional development. She began her career working as a commodity derivate market analyst at in Mumbai working on developing structured financial products for edible oils and oil seeds futures and carbon markets. Following this, she was a Research Associate at the University of Manchester, evaluating the role of sustainability standards, environmental innovations and corporate social responsibility in agricultural and light manufacturing sectors. She has worked as a Senior Research Officer at the Overseas Development Institute, researching a range of topics to support governments relating to technology and the SDGs and promoting the inclusion of micro and small enterprises into value chains. She has held the prestigious ESRC postdoctoral fellowship award, researching on taking the environment seriously in value chains, researching the effects digitalisation on future of food production and consumption. Aarti holds a Masters in Environmental Management and PhD in Development Policy from the University of Manchester, and BBA (Finance) from Delhi University.

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Banga Karishma

Banga Karishma
Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex

Karishma Banga is a Research Fellow in Digital Development at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, Brighton. Her research examines new models of digital-led development, changing nature of Global Value Chains and digital trade negotiations, with a focus on development implications for low and middle-income countries. Previously, she was a Research Fellow at the International Economic Development Group, ODI working on international trade in the digital age with a focus on Africa and Asia, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, Graduate Institute of Geneva. She has led and worked on a range of projects with international organisations and stakeholders, including UNECA, Commonwealth Secretariat, UNCTAD, Afreximbank, African Union, WTO, and Pathways for Prosperity, University of Oxford. Karishma holds a PhD in Global Value Chains from the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester and a MPhil in Economics from the University of Cambridge

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