Empowering Agriculture: SAFIC’s Vision for Data-Driven Transformation


Are you interested in the Agricultural sector and wondering where to start from? Worry no more.  Strathmore Agri-Food Innovation Centre (SAFIC) is here for you. The newly launched center at Strathmore University on May 14, 2024, is dedicated to establishing a Community of Practice (CoP) focused on Agricultural Markets Data for Investment & Growth (AMDIG). Operating under its core pillars of data analytics, research, and innovation, the center is poised to drive transformative initiatives in the agricultural sector.

Agriculture plays a pivotal role in economic development, supporting livelihoods and ensuring  food security and nutrition for millions of people in Africa. However, enhancing visibility and efficiency across the agricultural value chain, bridging gaps between stakeholders and facilitating informed decision-making in the agri-business landscape remains a key challenge and this is where SAFIC comes into play. 

“At SAFIC, we recognize the transformative potential of data-driven solutions in unlocking the full capacity of agriculture,” said Prof. Simon Wagura Nderitu, Principal Investigator, SAFIC.

Unlocking agriculture’s full potential requires innovative, data-driven  solutions and increased private sector involvement. Recognizing this imperative, (SAFIC) aims to lead the transformation of food systems in  Africa. 

This collaborative platform will facilitate knowledge sharing on data insights, serving as a hub for advancing agricultural innovation. AMDIG’s objectives include mapping investments and assessments across multiple levels while fostering partnerships among stakeholders. The launch event of SAFIC was a significant moment, bringing stakeholders together to co-develop solutions, exchange best practices, and pave the way for sustainable and inclusive agricultural transformation.

Dr. Vincent Ogutu, Strathmore University Vice Chancellor emphasized on the fact that SAFIC will not only serve the local communities but also the International communities calling out stakeholders in joining SAFIC to achieve its mission. 

“The launch of SAFIC and the AMDIG CoP represents a collective effort towards sustainable inclusive agricultural transformation. We invite stakeholders to join us in co-developing solutions, exchanging best practices, and charting a course towards resilient,” said Dr. Ogutu.

During the Launch event, several key points were emphasized:

Private Sector Leadership: SAFIC highlighted its crucial role in driving agricultural transformation through private sector leadership, with government support and a focus on farmers. Leaders across different sectors praised SAFIC’s dedication to fostering collaboration and innovation within the agri-food industry. 

Introduction of a Data Community of Practice (CoP): The launch underscored the urgent need for collaborative efforts across sectors to address data gaps and offer evidence-based decision-making support. The establishment of the Agri Markets Data for Investment & Growth (AMDIG) Community of Practice demonstrated SAFIC’s commitment to facilitating knowledge exchange and forming partnerships. Innovative.

Business Advisory Services: SAFIC demonstrated its dedication to providing customized business advisory services that empower small-scale agri-businesses to grow and succeed. 

Participants learned about innovative approaches designed to improve market access, manage risks, and enhance capacity for sustainable growth. Dr. John Kanyuithia Mutunga, Chair of the Agricultural Committee in the National Assembly, stressed the importance of reliable data in shaping policy decisions for strengthening market connections within the agricultural and livestock sector during his keynote speech at the launch.

Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA, emphasizes that empowering people is key to driving progress in the agriculture sector. She underscores the importance of providing data and conducting research to enable this empowerment. According to Kalibata, knowledge and information are essential tools for transforming agriculture and improving livelihoods.

On his part, Obai Khalifa, Deputy Director, Agricultural Development-Africa, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who emphasized on the need to have partners. 

“Partnership and evidence based support is key in driving investment and growth. Excited to see the involvement of government, private sector and academia in driving the agenda of transformation in agriculture in the continent. Through SAFIC data will be instrumental for agricultural advancement in the continent for the betterment of society,” said Khalifa.

Dr. Dominic Menjo, Food Security Advisor in the Office of the President insisted on the need to provide data for anyone in the agricultural sector. 

“Agriculture without data is a failure from the outside. Let’s synergize as the stakeholders in this industry to provide data that will assist in resolving the existing problems. There’s a need for us to move from using static data to dynamic data,” said Dr. Menjo. 


Article written by: Teresa Nekesa

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