Almost 60% of the population of Africa is involved in agriculture in some capacity, making it an essential part of the continent’s economy. The industry has, however, been hampered by a number of problems, such as low productivity, a lack of access to advanced technologies, and the effects of climate change. Agtech, an abbreviation for “agricultural technology,” is a game-changer for farming in Africa since it could help overcome these obstacles.
Precision agriculture technology
The creation of precision agriculture technologies is one of the most important advances in Agtech. Data on soil moisture, nutrient levels, and other environmental elements that affect crop development can be gathered with the help of these technologies via satellite imaging, drones, and other sensors. More yields and less waste are the end results of using this data to fine-tune planting, fertilisation, and irrigation practises.
Ignitia is an organisation working to implement precision agriculture. Ignitia use weather forecasting to deliver hyper-localized alerts to smallholder farmers. By knowing when to sow, water, and harvest, farmers may boost their crop yields by as much as 60 percent. FarmDrive, a Kenyan firm that utilises satellite imaging and mobile technologies to deliver credit scores to smallholder farmers, is another good example. Because of this, farmers can get loans and other financial services they couldn’t get before.
The use of mobile applications
The creation of mobile applications that give farmers access to data, instruction, and new markets is another step forward for Agtech. More than 700 million individuals in Africa now routinely use a mobile phone. There is a fantastic chance for Agtech firms to provide assistance to farmers in outlying areas.
Kenya’s M-Farm app is one example of a mobile app that is radically altering farming in Africa. Via M-Farm, smallholder farmers can find customers for their produce and see current market values in real time. Because of this, farmers can avoid losing a sizable chunk of their earnings to middlemen and instead sell their goods directly to consumers.
One more case in point is the Hello Tractor app, which has found success in countries like Nigeria and Kenya. Hello Tractor provides low-cost tractor and equipment rentals to small farms. This paves the way for farmers to mechanise their operations, which in turn can boost output and decrease expenses associated with labour. Additionally, the software instructs farmers on how to properly handle the machinery, allowing them to do so in a safe and effective manner.
How Agtech is assisting farmers to work around climate change
One of the greatest difficulties in agriculture today is the effects of climate change, but agtech is assisting farmers in Africa in meeting this problem head-on. Because of climate change, we now face the prospect of more frequent and severe extreme weather events, decreased water supplies, and elevated pest and disease threats. Farmers can lessen the effects of these changes by using the methods and equipment made available by agtech.
The work that SunCulture is doing is an example of how Agtech is being used to adapt to climate change. Using a solar-powered irrigation system, SunCulture has made it possible for farmers to cultivate crops in arid regions. Drip irrigation, used in this technology, can enhance harvests by as much as 300 percent while decreasing water usage. So that farmers may keep cultivating crops even as water becomes scarcer, the company also instructs them in water management.
Ways in which agtech is transforming Africa’s agricultural sector
Precision farming, mobile apps, and the ability to adapt to a shifting environment are just a few examples of the ways in which Agtech is transforming Africa’s agricultural sector. These developments are assisting in raising productivity, broadening access to markets and financial services, and strengthening resistance to climate change. Because of Agtech’s potential for future growth, the agricultural sector in Africa might be revolutionised, opening up exciting new doors for the continent’s farmers and business owners.