Microsoft announces USD 2 million investment for smallholder farmers in South Africa

Aug 5, 2020

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Smallholder farmers in South Africa are set to benefit from a 2.3 million dollar Microsoft investment aimed at driving sustainability in South Africa’s agricultural sector.

Through the investment, Microsoft will use technology to solve some of the challenges these farmers face. That prevents them from becoming commercially viable, efficient and sustainable.

Microsoft notes that smallholder farmers form an important part of the agricultural workforce in South Africa.

To achieve this, Microsoft will identify and work with South African tech companies to conceptualise, develop and roll-out various agritech solutions.

Lillian Barnard, Managing Director at Microsoft South Africa notes the investment is aimed at making a real difference in one of South Africa’s most vital sectors.

There is no doubt that South Africa’s smallholder farmers have significant potential to drive growth and employment opportunities. As well as enable other sectors within the country to ultimately drive food security.

This makes it critical to invest in the sector to address the challenges they face. Key challenges are a lack of infrastructure, access to competitive formal markets, production and business skills, funding and financial support to re-invest in their farming activities, and compliance with food safety regulations and legislation.”

Our investment is aimed at making a real difference in one of South Africa’s most vital sectors by harnessing the power of technology. High-impact technological solutions will improve efficiencies in smallholder farming, lower the cost of production, improve access to local and international markets, improve compliance with legislation, and drive access to information, among others.

By investing in the agriculture sector and unlocking the potential of technology to act as an enabler for growth and skills development, we are showing our commitment to driving sustainability and creating opportunities in one of South Africa’s most critical, job-creating industries.”

Lillian Barnard, Managing Director, Microsoft South Africa.

Investments in AgriTech

Last year, Microsoft South Africa announced a new evolved Microsoft Equity Equivalent Investment Programme to focus on investments in technology solutions in agriculture and digital transformation in the manufacturing sectors.

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