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Farm Concern International (FCI), last week, had the great pleasure of taking part in the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture, 2015 (GFIA) held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. FCI represented by its Africa Director, Mr. David Ruchiu, joined participants from 65 other countries from across the globe to share one of its innovations (AFMA-X, African Farms and Markets Exchange) technology. 

Hosted by the City of Abu Dhabi and in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, the GFIA, 2015 presented the world’s largest collection of sustainable agriculture innovations and pooled together the highest level of expertise, investors and suppliers to show the world how game-changing technologies can feed the world.

The event agenda coincided with FCI’s mission that seeks “to build and implement innovative pro-poor market and business models that speed-up solutions for smallholder commercialization and competitiveness in value networks for household economic growth and community empowerment in Africa and beyond.” 

Mr. Ruchiu, in an exclusive interview, commended GFIA, 2015 event which was well attended by participants from African countries to showcase various innovations crafted and ridden by Africans. “The fact that Africa is rising and the world has seen that we can do it right, is quite heartwarming and confidence building,” he said.  

FCI’s presentation of AFMA-X, a platform that is built with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in this international forum seeks to popularize the platform and save the smallholder farmer’s time, energy, and labor and increase her productivity. This is attained by reducing unnecessary costs incurred in production and marketing of agricultural value chains.  The innovation is an online virtual platform that is designed to be accessible through basic mobile phone and uses IT technology to save on time, energy, labor and increase in productivity. 

During the month of January and February 2015 alone, farmers from Kieni, Kiambu, Meru and Mbeere in Kenya managed to sell products worth USD 80,728 through AFMA-X application. Bulb onions, grains and pulses took the lion share with sales worth USD 32667, USD 22151 and USD 14684 respectively. Other commodities included Root tubers at USD 9,213, livestock USD 1480, chicken USD 380, Traditional African Vegetables USD 112 and exotic vegetables at USD 41. The platform is also meant to promote the use of technology to gather analytical information on farming practices. 

Additionally, Mark Beaumont, the GFIA Director challenged the participants who included innovators, investors, policymakers, food producers, retailers and researchers to create the catalyst for lasting change in agricultural innovation to enhance sustainable production. “We are all aware of the challenge we face – feeding nine billion people by the year 2050 – yet we are also aware that there are thousands of innovations that can help us get there,” he said.

Indeed, the forum was an eye opener to every agricultural stakeholder in the globe to invent effective and efficient methods of sustainable agricultural production so as to feed the perpetually growing world population and elude starvation and malnutrition.

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FCI VISION :Commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond.