Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Technology and innovation, the needed changes for Africa’s agriculture

24.10.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
With the ever-increasing world population, it is reported that the human race population is set to reach nearly 10 billion people by 2050, a massive increment but the question arises are we as a human race ready to ensure that there's enough affordable, nutritious food to feed every mouth?
This rising problem is one not for just Africa but for the whole world, Africa is one of the leading producers of food commodities, a clear indication that pressure would be mounting on the continent food production.

How can this issue be solved? Technology and innovation hold the potential answers to ensuring food security to reduce or curb the future problem.
It is no wonder that food security and zero hunger lies on top of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals which is “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.

The issue can’t be dismissed, it is set to grow so far so the population grows too. Records from WHO, UNICEF, etc highlights all though there is enough food to feed the current population, a huge chunk is either facing hunger, or malnutrition often due to uneven distribution of national resources and poverty. Food production in Africa would have to change in order for us to feed this increasing number in the future as well as solving the current food crisis.

Agriculture in Africa experience diverse challenges that limit the potential of the practice they include few or no irrigation systems, unpredictable weather condition, little or no use of soil nutrients, etc. However, technology and innovation have a huge impact on agriculture if it will be inculcated in food production.

New Knowledge and Innovation Surest Way to Go

Leaders across the farming industry have discussed ways; agricultural innovations can solve these problems. The use of greenhouse can be very benefiting to the ecosystem, shielding crops from excess cold or heat and also unwanted pests whiling fortifying the crops. It also helps certain types of crops to grow all year round, Green Houses comes with so many advantages for farmers, they include the ability to garden in any weather, often bad weather takes a toll on food production but with greenhouse, one need not worry because everything crop is covered. Another headache of farmers are dealing with pesticides, but the greenhouse protects the crops from pests and Predators. The greenhouse allows farmers to customizes their needs and the needs of the plants and allows them to control and possibly conserve energy sources as compared to traditional food production.

The application of Precision farming is a factor we can leverage on, it combines agricultural engineering and information science, using data to impact agriculture production. Making use of technological platforms, machines, AI has bigger benefits like understanding soil chemistry, reading weather patterns, water distribution, etc. These are crucial factors that make or unmake the agriculture practice in Africa. Some countries in Africa have started moving into this direction a classic example is Zambia, using an artificial intelligence platform, called Agripredict. This platform using a simple photo from a phone can detect or fish out the presence of pests or diseases, in farms. The platform can also forecast the probability of invasions by pests, and also read weather patterns so they can prepare in such regards Another mobile app helping agriculture which developed through technology basis is eLocust3 which is used to monitor and detect dangerous pests likely to destroy crops, this app using advances information, and communication giving early signal and warning of the presence of pesticides, this reduces the destruction of crops yielding to more products, and then to more economic benefits and  bring down the number of hungry crisis issues.

 Benefits from Natural Resources

The use of soil nutrients and bacteria in food production and bacteria play a critical role in farming—good bacteria can help in food and plant growth. Aside from the soil having its own nutrients, it is key to apply soil nutrients to both protect plants and enhance soil growth. In Tanzania, farmers have found a new use for the indigenous Allanblackia tree in the country, as its seed has oil rich in soil nutrients. This oil elevate the growth of the plants especially for rural people to gain a sustainable income from the practice. Incorporating technology to save will go a long wat to help the agriculture scene. Livestock production is part of agriculture practice in Africa, however, there are a lot of hurdles in that aspect of agriculture.

In Africa, diseases spread at speed of lightning among livestock framing. Which causes lot of money and has been a headache of farmers. There has been a saving grace through tech companies, a classic example is SwineTech, and a company which focuses on the symptoms in pigs, using sensors to detect the animals are behaving abnormally and quickly attend to such diseases. There are other companies tackling these issues as well.

Establishment of Agriculture companies should be present in the remedy for implementing technology and innovation in agriculture. These establishments of agriculture agencies can train farmers on capacity and capability training. Training them on how to use these high technology platforms, how to operate it collaborating with these farmers to use these advanced ways to our benefit in Agriculture. The world is at the speed of using these technology and innovative practices, it is simply to take a step in our Agriculture setting in Africa

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Photo Credit : google image/illustration

To view full news and leave comments you must be logged in. Please join the community