<aside> ⬆️ back to The Ecosystem of “Social Agriculture” (FINAL)


In this section:

The size of social agriculture versus digital agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

An earlier section,What is “social agriculture” and why should we care?, highlighted a distinction between “social agriculture” and “digital agriculture.” The latter was understood as “digital platforms created by foreign and local tech firms ... promoted as generating opportunities for farmers, shaping a vision of digitised agriculture.” The previous section argued that these two were different. Therefor, this section asks: which category—social agriculture or digital agriculture—is actually reaching more people?

The size of digital agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

Source: Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report 2018-2019.

Source: Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report 2018-2019.

A recent report on the Digitalisation of African Agriculture provides an extensive overview of digital agriculture (D4Ag) services and draws on a database “that tracks 390 active D4Ag solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa.” A list of the top 20 solutions (by registered users) in the report is provided below.

Top 20 solutions by number of registered users

The following key findings help build an estimate of the number of active digital agriculture users.

While the report highlights the number of “registered D4Ag users” (33.1 million), this figure is not comparable with the estimate of users engaged in social agriculture presented in this report. This is because “registered user” metrics are regarded as poor indicators of anything meaningful in the consumer-facing technology sector. (Companies like Facebook and Pinduoduo report “monthly active users,” not registered users, to shareholders.) Accepting 22.5% as the midpoint of the active rate (which still seems suspiciously high) leads to a more reasonable estimate for the number of users actively involved in digital agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2018: around 7.5 million users.