The organisers of eLearning Africa have announced that, for the first time, the event will include a special programme of seminars, discussions and debates about learning and training for Africa’s farming and food sector.
The decision reflects the continuing importance of agriculture in African economies, together with new opportunities and challenges for African food producers in an era of rapid technological change.
Rebecca Stromeyer, the founder of eLearning Africa, said, “farming and food production currently employ over 40 per cent of the continent’s workforce, more than 70 per cent of whom are women. Communications technology is making a huge difference to farming in Africa, delivering information and training about prices, markets, sources of finance, farm business development, crop management, animal husbandry, health, ecology, climate change, new ways of fighting diseases and a host of other matters”.
“The way in which Africa’s food and farming sector adapts to the future will play a major part in the transformation of the continent and the ability of African economies to entrench sustainable, economic growth in the long term,” Stromeyer added.
Dr Harold Elletson, the editor of the eLearning Africa Report, who will head the eLA Agriculture Track, said: “What is happening in African farming now is important for the whole world, not just for Africa. The continent is rich in resources. It can easily feed its own people, but it can also become a major exporter of high-quality produce.
As African Governments begin to develop their exciting plans for a common free trade area, they now face some important choices.
Should they, for example, rush into the arms of the globalised, highly industrial ‘Big Farm’ corporations who increasingly want to muscle in on African agriculture, or should they encourage the growth of small farms, develop Africa’s trade and distribution infrastructure, preserve traditional knowledge and extend access to skills, training and investment for African workers, managers and entrepreneurs?
The world has much to learn from Africa and the way in which young people are trained to manage the continent’s resources in the future could stand as an example at a time when the whole world is facing the twin challenges of population growth and climate change.”
Ms Stromeyer announced that eLearning Africa has issued a call for papers from anyone interested in participating in this year’s conference, which will take place in Abidjan, the capital of Cote d’Ivoire, from 23 – 25 October.
Key themes are education and sustainable food production; agriculture training; the role of ICTs in improving training, knowledge management and access; partnerships and collaboration; and protecting the environment.