Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Beyond Hype: Digital Trends, Scale and Evidence

Event Date: 
Dec 11, 2019
9:30 am to 11:00 am EST
Online Event
Agrilinks and USAID Bureau for Food Security


Global agricultural development is increasingly shaped by the unprecedented growth of the digital economy. Digital technologies have demonstrated the potential to redefine economic growth models, empower poor people with new communications tools, and facilitate more productive interactions and financial transactions across agricultural market systems and value chains. In many places, tech is enabling agricultural and financial service provision at a scale never before seen. An estimated 85 percent of farmers’ households will have a mobile phone by 2025[1], only further enabling growth in the agtech space.

But, we have also seen enough to suggest that without deliberate focus and if left unchecked, digital technologies may in fact exacerbate inequalities and deepen the negative effects of online, digital engagement. As such, each of us has a commitment to ensure the digital economy is inclusive in a manner that is open, secure, reliable, unfettered and interoperable. And, much is still left to better understand about the evidence and longer-term impact of digital technologies on the agricultural sector and rural households.

Join us for the Agrilinks digital ag month webinar, where we’ll review industry trends, explore examples of innovative technologies that are scaling to better serve rural household, and discuss how we might better understand the evidence and impact of digital tech.

[1] The Digitalization of African Agriculture Report 2018–2019


Platform Coordinator
CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture

Brian King leads the Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, a global program of the CGIAR consortium centered on digital transformation of food systems worldwide.

He has led programs leveraging successive waves of transformational digital technologies including establishing early internet networks and policies, building sustainable rural internet, licensing of mobile operators, governance of submarine cables and cross-border backbone networks, developing digital strategies for an array of clients, and building more inclusive mobile financial services, most of this in developing economies. He is a former agriculture extensionist and a California rice farmer.

Hello Tractor

Jehiel Oliver is the founder and CEO of Hello Tractor, an agricultural technology company that connects tractor owners with smallholder farmers in need of tractor services.

At Hello Tractor, Jehiel is responsible for overall management and strategy. He has been honored with numerous awards for his work in social entrepreneurship including being recognized by Foreign Policy Magazine as a Top 100 Global Thinker for 2016. He was appointed under the Obama Administration to serve two years as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, where he most recently chaired the technology subcommittee. Prior to Hello Tractor, Jehiel worked in consulting and investment banking. He lives with his wife and daughter in Nairobi, Kenya.

Team Leader, ICTs for Agriculture
Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation

Dr Benjamin K Addom is the Team Leader, ICTs for Agriculture at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the Netherlands.

He is an expert in digitalisation in agriculture - the intersection of digital solutions for agriculture, big data and analytics, innovative business development, and the enabling environment for scale and sustainability. He has over 20 years of experience with smallholder farming; agribusiness development; extension and advisory service; project design and implementation; resource mobilisation and grant Management.

Senior Manager, Special Projects

Sarah Mackay leads on managing Strategic Partnerships for Wefarm - the world's largest digital network for small-scale farmers.

The Wefarm digital ecosystem for small-scale farmers connects farmers to information, products and services, and markets all by SMS. Sarah is working with companies, international development organisations, grant providers and bilateral institutions to deliver projects which empower small-scale farmers to increase their prosperity. Previously Sarah worked for UCL and small NGOs in similar partnership development roles.


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