Over the years, technology has revolutionized our world. It has created amazing tools and resources, putting useful information at our fingertips. Modern technology has made it possible for the discovery of many functional and utility devices. With all of these revolutions, technology has made our lives easier, faster, better… and more fun.
For Africa , one of the main sectors that has benefited from technology is Agriculture.
For instance, the capture of aerial images from satellites or drones, weather forecasts, and soil sensors are making it possible to manage crop growth in real time. Automated systems provide early warnings if there are deviations from normal growth or other factors. The possibilities have proven to be endless.
African leaders have identified agriculture as one of the driving forces which will push Africa out of poverty and there is a potential for agriculture to create employment, however, African youths do not see agriculture as a profitable opportunity for livelihood. There is a growing notion that the best way to entice young people back to the farms is through making youths access information and communication technologies tailored for agriculture.
Gone are the days of farmers using cutlasses and hoes. Akinwunmi Adesina, President of the Africa Development Bank (AFDB), once said “cutlasses and hoes” are meant for museums. Which is one if the reasons why the ADFB will invest $24 billion in Africa agriculture over the next 10 years.
Although, in Nigeria some farmers are currently deploying technologies such as the use of irrigation system, tractors, sprayer, planter and the likes on a small scale, the needs of sustaining agriculture the future goes beyond the farm.
According to the CTO of FarmAgric Mr Francis Eke-Metoho, there is a serious need to change the stereotype of what see agriculture as and make it cool to be a farmer. If we are going to sustain agriculture for the future. We need to show them that farming is fun and money actually does grow on trees.
The use of technology needs to be tailored to fit into the lives of young people and show them that agriculture goes beyond just planting on the farm, but it expands into agribusiness by educating them on the different sectors of the value-chain and which will elicit an interest for agriculture in them. Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, a commercial farmer himself, told Quartz in an interview last month that he sees agribusiness as one of the few sectors that can “create the quantum of jobs needed for Africa’s youth.”
The African Development bank also believes that youth are the farmers of tomorrow and in a recent tweet its President, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina said AFDB will invest $300 million in programs to support youths to take agriculture as a business.
Agri-tech companies such as FarmAgric, Farmcrowdy, Growsel and Thriveagric are actively working on infusing technology into the agricultural value chain. They have made farmers out of almost everyone. They allow individuals to own farms without engaging in the labour that comes with it. They use sponsors fund to cultivate the land, engage farmers and plant seeds and pay both the interest and capital on completion. Provisions are made for sponsors to visit the farm.
Adoption of technology will to a large extent maximize agricultural value chain, reduce food insecurity and reduce post harvest losses. Nothing is a waste in agriculture, every “waste” turns into something of value. The use of data, information and research has helped to improve farming across Africa. When technology is fully accepted, farming becomes a way of life. Increasing our GDP, reducing food insecurity and increasing food exports. In years to come, agriculture will look better, courtesy of technology.