AFRICA TECHNOLOGY

Smart Tech as a Tool for African Farming

smart tech role in digitizing African farming

Agriculture remains the only known African food source. However, changing weather patterns have resulted in lower yields in most African countries. Similarly, farming involves lots of activities that the farmers are sometimes overwhelmed with. In order for them to practice smart farming in this digital age, they need to adopt tech farming that is on the rise today. Europe is a good example of where digitized farming has revolutionized everything from planting to harvesting. With the increase in the usage of mobile phones around the continent, smart tech has taken its place in improving agricultural productivity. This article lists down some of the technologies that the farmers in Africa are applying so as to realize high yields.

1. Mobile phone technology

Today the use of mobile phones is widespread in the African regions including the rural areas. Gone are the days when people used to depend on landlines which were only found in the urban areas. Farmers can download farming-based apps that will help them master the art of farming. A good example is the Esoko. This popular app among the farmers provide information on the prices of the crops, the weather forecasts, and farming tips.

The farmers can receive payments via a mobile payment system using Esoko. this tool is used in Kenya, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe. Widim Pump is another tool used to manage the irrigation system on the farm. The tool operates by sending messages to the gadget. It was founded by Oumar Basse and manufactured in his company, Nano Air.”There is no more need to walk for several kilometers (miles) every day, or use up fuel, or hire someone to monitor the pumps. He can switch on the water or turn off the supply using his mobile phone,” says Nano Air’s CEO, Oumar Basse.

2. Counting Technology by the use of Pix Fruit

Pix fruit is a project developed by Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research and CIRAD. It helps take count of the mangoes while they are still in the field. Through the use of a smartphone, the farmer takes pictures of the mangoes in a branch then do the counting to know exactly how many mangoes are there. Then, they extrapolate the numbers giving estimates for the whole farm. Pix Fruit technology helps the farmer to project how much sales they should expect from their mangoes. Though this project has errors since it’s more of a trial and error, farmers still use it to help estimate the produce.

3. Lifantou-matching school meals demand with farm supply

The company was developed by a telecoms engineer from Senegal namely Awa Thiams. Lifantou uses big data to connect schools’ canteens with farm produce suppliers. “Today between 25 and 50 percent of the cost of school meals goes to intermediaries, but schools have limited budgets. If you shorten the supply chain canteens can bring down the cost of meals and offer the students more varied menus. Awa’s company links schools with farmers to cut down the cost of intermediaries. After the crops are ready, a transport system is organized in real-time so as to ensure that demand and supply are well matched.

Bottom Line

Leapfrog technology, Pix Fruit and Lifantou are good indicators that smart tech is finally the tool for African farmers. This tech-enabled farming ensures things are done real quick without relying too much on the manual way of doing things. It’s critical for farmers to adopt the tools that help them harness their farming activities.

Related: Agritech Startups for Africans by Africans

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