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NAIROBI, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- African countries must harness information and communication technology (ICT) to modernize the agriculture sector and enhance its contribution to economic growth, experts said on Friday during the sixth Africa Green Revolution Forum in Nairobi.

The experts said at a side event that transformation of farming in Africa hinges on higher uptake of digital platforms by smallholders to boost access to information on agronomic practices and markets.

Benedict Kanu, the lead agricultural expert at the African Development Bank noted that ICT will revolutionize food production systems in Africa in the face of constraints linked to climate change, outdated policies and disjointed value chains.

""The next phase of green revolution in Africa will be largely driven by ICT innovations to ensure smallholders have access to timely information on weather, farm inputs and markets,"" Kanu said.

He urged African governments to enact robust policies and legislation to facilitate adoption of digital platforms at the smallholder level.

The digital revolution that has been witnessed in many African countries has unleashed immense benefits to strategic sectors of the economy like agriculture, retail and transport.

Kanu noted that ICT has boosted efficiency in food production while increasing the bargaining power of African smallholders.

""Small scale farmers in this continent are currently using mobile applications to obtain accurate information on the next planting season. They can access market information on smart phones without relying on exploitative middle men,"" said Kanu.

He added that big data will offer durable solutions to challenges facing African smallholders including crop pests, diseases and market volatility.

The CEO of Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions Ishmael Sunga emphasized that policy and funding incentives were crucial to scale up adoption of ICT at smallholder level.

""Greater application of ICT in farming will eliminate inefficiencies, save cost and improve smallholders' income,"" Sunga remarked.

Digital platforms have not only modernized agriculture sector in Africa but have also made it attractive to the youth.

Juliana Rotich, a Kenyan ICT specialist noted that young African farmers are using mobile applications to access information on certified seeds, weather and markets.

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HARARE Dawuane Smoot Jaguars Jersey , Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe national cricket team lost in the Test match against South Africa in Harare on Saturday.

The hosts were not expected to offer much resistance against the number one ranked team in the world but to their credit they lasted a full day ending on 248 for the loss of nine wickets with captain Brendan Taylor scoring 93.

South Africa gave off-spinner Dane Piet his Test debut and dismissed four Zimbabwean batsmen while the number one ranked bowler in the world Dale Steyn claimed the same number of victims.

Day two of the expected five in this match starts at 10 am on Sunday with South Africa looking to bat through to a comfortable lead.

Zimbabwe has never beaten their South Africa in Test cricket and the trend could continue as the touring side finished the day with an advantage despite their hosts' credible show.

The first day was watched by a colorful crowd which was entertained all day with the two southern African nations trading blows.

Prior to this match the two had only faced each other in seven matches which produced one draw and six wins for South Africa.

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