How Digital Technology Is Changing Farming in Africa

By | January 27, 2020

How Digital Technology Is Changing Farming in Africa.

Welcome to today’s post from Ghana’s passionate tech journal on how the digital technology in Africa is changing the farming system based on the rapid advancement of technology in Africa.

From the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, the world population is going to reach 9.1 billion by the year 2050, and talking about feeding that number of people, and then the production of global food has to increase by 70%. Africa particular, which is projected to be home to over 2 billion people by then (2050), productivity of farms, must grow at a faster rate than that of the global average to do away with continued mass hunger.

Sometimes, the food challenges in Africa are multipronged: The population is growing, but it is threatened by low farm productivity exacerbated by weather changes, shorter fallow periods, and rural-urban migration that deprives farming communities of young people. In Northern part of Nigeria, the herdsmen are moving south looking for pasture as their ancestral lands are facing severe deforestation. Also, in Somalia, the Shebelle River, which supports many farmers, is now drying up; this is causing additional paints in the war- torn country. How higher foods are demanded in combination, stunted yield potential, and increasingly worse farmland must stimulate a redesigned agro-sector for the assured food security. With this, an agricultural account for more than 30% of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product and employs more than 60% of its working population.

For some decades, governments in Africa have been making use of policy instruments to enhance farm productivity. But most farmers are still only marginally improving yields. Some of them continue to use traditional methods that depend on historical norms, also using some farm tools like hoes and cutlasses that have not evolved for centuries. This as a result, those farmers that do look to leverage new technologies fall into issues related to finances.

Farm technologies that are made from foreign countries remain unappealing to some of the farmers in Africa just because they are cumbersome for those who control, with an average of 1.6 hectares of farmland. What’s more, less than 1% of commercial lending are involved in agriculture (usually to the few large-scale farmers), making smaller farms not able to acquire such expensive tools to increase in production.

But this is about change! The time that African entrepreneurs are now interested in how farmers work and how they can help improve yields. The barrier of entry into farming technology has dropped, as cloud computing, computing systems, connectivity, open-source software, and other digital tools have become increasingly affordable and accessible than before. Entrepreneurs can now deliver solutions to small-size African farms at cost models that farmers can afford.

Countries That Proves how digital technology is changing farming in Africa.

For instance, aerial images from satellites or drones, weather forecasts, and soil sensors are making everything possible to manage crop growth in real time. Automated systems provide early warnings if there are deviations from normal growth or other factors.

Nigeria: A Nigerian farming startup called Zenvus, measures and analyzes the data of the soil such as temperature, nutrients, and vegetative health as helping farmers to apply the needed fertilizer and organic manure. This process increases the productivity in the farm.

Keyna: Another is a Kenyan startup that uses big data and analytic capabilities to transform farmers into a knowledge-based community, by improving on the productivity goals through precision insights; UjuziKilimo is the name of this startup. And SunCulture is another startup that helps improve farming through digitization by selling drip irrigation kits that use solar energy that helps pump water from any source making irrigation affordable.

Beyond precision farming, financial solutions that are designed for these farmers are blossoming. A Kenyan enterpriseFarmDrive, connects unbanked and underserved smallholder farmers to credit, while helping financial institutions cost-effectively increase their agricultural loan portfolios. Also, a Kenyan startup M-Farm provides pricing data to remove price asymmetry between farmers and buyers, making it possible for farmers to earn more.

Cameroon: Cameroon’s AgroSpaces is providing pricing data to remove price asymmetry between farmers and buyers, making it possible for farmers to earn more.

Ghana: Farmerline and AgroCenta are all Ghanaian-based startup that deploy the mobile web technologies bringing farming advice, weather forecasts, regular market data, and financial information to farmers, who are traditionally out of reach, due to some barriers in connectivity, literacy or language. Sokopepe is another era of using digital technology to change farming in Africa through the use of SMS and web tools to offer information to farmers.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia in launching satellites, is there to consider how farmers may be able to benefit from initiatives. Improved farm connectivity will usher in a new dawn in agriculture technology in the continent.

Finally, Africa needs to cut its food waste in regions where electricity is unreliable or unavailable. The biggest impact will come when the little that is produced can be effectively utilized through appropriate preservation and storage techniques. Pioneering affordable solutions on food safety and tracking food supply chains will boost the overall value of the sector.

Digital technology opens vast untapped potential for farmers, investors, and entrepreneurs to improve efficiency of food production and consumption in Africa. From precision farming to an efficient food supply chain, technology could bring major economic, social, and environmental benefits. Indeed, the sheer optimism across the startup ecosystem is that extreme hunger can be cured in Africa, in this generation, by significantly transforming the industry that employs most of its citizens.

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