ICT Clinic (Punch Newspaper)

Focusing on smart agriculture across Africa [ICT Clinic]

The world is changing and one of the factors driving this change is climate change, which continues to affect the weather and the elements, such as rainfall and storms, among others. These changes affect basically everything that concerns man and his environment.

The impact of these changes is gradually being felt across the world but one sector that is very crucial to the survival of humans, which is being greatly affected, is the agricultural sector. This is so because it speaks to the very essence of our existence as humans as we need to grow our food and eat to survive.

The increasing changing pattern of rainfall, rising temperatures, diseases and pests, has been caused by climate change, which is now adversely affecting the global food chain ecosystem and increasing the odds at which food security and poverty reduction becomes challenging now and in the foreseeable future.

Across Africa, Agriculture is one the most important sectors of the economy and it is one of the main driving forces through which Africa can pull itself out of the realm of poverty.

Africa’s economy basically depends on Agriculture with 60 per cent of over 1.3 billion Africans still living in rural areas and 32 per cent of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product generated from the sector. The sector, also accounts for 65 per cent of the continent’s employment and 75 per cent of its domestic trade.

The question to ask now is why do we still have the issue of food shortage and inflation in edible commodities in Africa even when we ought to be generating billions of dollars from the export and processing of agricultural produce and still have enough to feed the ever-increasing population? What exactly are we not getting right in the agricultural sector in Africa? Why have we not been able to effectively harness all the potential that the agricultural sector presents to us?

The answer to the problem posed above is that, we should start applying technology in the agricultural sector in Africa and this is known as “Smart Agriculture.”

Smart agriculture, basically, entails the concept of farming in a systematic and strategic modern way with a view to exponentially increase the yield per hectare of farmlands.

The aim of smart agriculture is to use modern farming techniques, (concept), which encompass the adoption of the Internet of Things, sensors, soil scanning, data management, big data, cloud-based services, etc., to increase production, growth in farming and improve the commercialisation of crops.

Some of the examples of smart agriculture, are shade net and greenhouse farming, which also happens to be a modern farming method frequently used considerably across Africa as they support smart farming and help in selecting the method of farming based on weather or water.

With the rising concern with food security and climate change challenges, smart agriculture ensures efficiency of inputs such as labour, seeds and fertilizers, thus increasing food security.

By carrying out all these functions, smart agriculture helps to protect the ecosystem, landscapes, and the natural resources for the future generation.

Across the world, smart agriculture has been experiencing considerable growth because of the ever-increasing demand for improvement in yield and income, generated from the sector, combined with the introduction of connected devices, in the agricultural sector, which has improved the performance of agricultural activities, through the use of advanced technologies.

Global smart agriculture is divided into global positioning system devices, sensor monitoring systems and smart detection systems.

The services are split into: consulting, integration, implementation and maintenance, while on the basis of solutions, it is further broken down and divided into mobility solutions, — Finish Reading on the Punch

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