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Smart tech the new tool for African farmers


The importance of agriculture can not be overemphasized in Sub-Saharan Africa because of the large population and increasing number of mouths to feed.

Although the image of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa may be that of relentless toil and low productivity, experts say that the introduction of Tech is changing the picture.

Many of the farmers may be aware of Betway Nigeria secure Sports betting and this means they are aware of other tech gadgets.

The farmers, crop buyers and other professionals in the sector have started to use smart gadgets and crunch numbers for improved productivity and reduced costs.

Digital revolution

Pascal Bonnet, a deputy director of CIRAD, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development stated that a digital revolution is currently unfolding in Africa.

Many young Africans are now conducting excellent research in information technology and digital agriculture brings real opportunity for the qualified ones.

Many African youths may have heard about Betway but they are currently trying to use IT to link farmers directly to consumers without involving wholesalers and stores just as is the rave in Europe and North America.

A 28-year-old telecoms engineer, Awa Thiam has started initiating the idea in her native Senegal.

She founded a company, Lifantou which connects school canteens with farming cooperatives through the help of a big data.

When she showcased her work at an agri-tech conference in Dakar, she stated that there is a huge need for it since a great percentage of the cost of school meals goes to intermediaries shortening the already limited budget of the schools. If the supply chain is shortened, canteens can slash the cost of meals and offer more varied menus to the children.

Her platform relies on a databank of crop production and schools to link potential demand with supply.

It enables the cost to be lower for schools because of group-purchasing and also organises the transport of the goods with operations monitored in real time.

Counting by mobile

Betway found out that a new project is also coming to Africa. The project is called Pix Fruit and it plans to help farmers who previously estimated their mango crop by counting the fruit on a bunch of trees and then concluded for the whole plantation.

A French researcher on digital agro-ecology, Emile Faye works for Pix Fruit and says there will be a lot room for mistakes as the margin could even reach a factor of 10.

Pix Fruit’s method used advanced modelling software to give a more specific count of the crop.

The farmer takes photos of a selection of trees in his field. The fruit-recognition technology then calculates the likely total harvest, with the help of a databank and drones that provide information on climate, soil and administrative constraints.

It helps farmers to learn the true worth of their crops.

Market Value

The smartphone is used to create value. With IT, Africa has been able to leapfrog the cost of installing landlines and this has increased innovation. More and more people are now using IT services from ride-sharing to money transfer.

The rural world is not also left out. Esoko, the third most downloaded app in Africa is used to collect and share crop prices. It also provides information about weather and farming tips, and makes payment arrangements via a mobile money scheme.




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