With more than 7 million people working as small scale farmers – U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – and 80% of them depending on rain for agriculture, satellite technology couldn’t have come sooner to Zimbabwe. This article talks about how satellite technology is helping Zimbabwe farmers.
The rapid climate change due to Global warming has necessitated the Agricultural Sector to help farmers embrace Satellite Technology. Though at a snail pace, it’s working.
Its numerous benefits will help the country adapt to the shift, ensuring food supply to its citizens all year round.
Lack of Electricity and the internet has proven challenging for experts. Relying on traditional ways to predict the weather has shortchanged the farmers in the past. Not to mention having to wait forever to see Extension officers sent by the Government. Never seeing them is also an option owing to the adverse road conditions in some areas like Ntabazinduna, north of Bulawayo. Introducing Satellite Technology has seen Farmers, harnessing their full land potential to maximize crop yield. Groups like TMG ensure they receive accurate information via SMS on climate changes.
Some Ways They Benefit
The following are ways through which satellite technology help in farming;
Predicting Weather Changes
In Areas like Matabeleland, where they experience low-rain levels, the officers monitor weather patterns with the help of Google maps and advise the farmers accordingly via SMS. They prepare in advance on what crops to plant for the season. Further, the information passed educates them on expected weather conditions and how to work around them for their labour to give yield.
Soil / Land Maintenance
Soil easily gets damaged with poor season planting. Technology gives the experts access to the farmers land from the comfort of their workstations. The Data collected shows the status of the earth and how much damage there is. The relied information enlightens the farmers within that area, who consequently use the right fertilizers to contain soil minerals. With proper soil management, they are almost sure of bountiful harvests.
Preventing and Managing Pest Infestation
Lack of Electricity in most rural areas keeps most of these farmers in the dark about infestation and sudden changes. But Through this Technology, the advisors send them text messages indicating a possible in a particular area. By way of these, they either prepare on how to combat such occurrences in good time. Or plant differently altogether.
Studies have shown Technology is the sure bet for future farming in Africa. Zimbabwe, through the help of the Chinese Government and their internal departments, is ensuring their country enjoys a year-round supply of food through embracing Satellite Technology. Farmers learn on better ways to manage their resources to ascertain 80% yield as is the norm in days of good weather.
What the farmers need is rain. Satellite technology might not guarantee rain or pest-free seasons but having the information makes for more abundant harvests for these local communities.
By embracing Satellite Technology, African Governments will feel the need to educate their farmers to keep up with world trends. Connecting them to Electricity and the internet will be of topmost priority to them.