23 May Modern Technologies to aid African Farming
Farmers in Africa are currently relying on word of mouth knowledge sharing to determine what it is they should be planting and the conditions of the land. This means of information handling, whilst valuable, cannot keep up with the turbulent agricultural marketplace.
Automated tractors, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial imagery technologies and farming drones, could all play vital parts in Africa’s food security. All of these emerging technologies can benefit African farmers, by giving them the tools they need to respond to threats from the marketplace.
Currently however, a data revolution is taking place on the continent, with technologies that democratise access to data and allow for the spread of big data across a larger field of end-users.
For example, the Africa Agriculture Watch (AAgWa) web-based platform processes remotely-senses data through satellite images and applies machine learning techniques to predict agricultural production.
Based on its Africa Crop Production (AfCP) model, AAgWa provides regular crop production forecasts for nine crops across 47 African countries, mainly those essential for smallholder livelihoods. AAgWa forecasts cover beans, cassava, maize, millet, rice, groundnut, sorghum, wheat, and yam.
As Africa’s farmers tackle the challenge of climate change, a solid bedrock of data – powered by innovative technologies – will prove a most invaluable ally. Access to previous years weather reports, understanding the flow of the weather for the current year, being able to understand changes in the earth due to climate change, are all examples of Food Security made easier, through the use of emerging technologies across Africa.