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Farming for the future

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Farmers in Africa are facing a number of challenges that can be solved by new technologies and modern farming techniques. Image credit: Meric Tuna from Unsplash.

Farming for the future

New technology will play an important role in enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability.

By Clive Roberts

According to a new report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation  (FAO), Tracking progress on food and agriculture-related SDG indicators 2023 ,15 years since the establishment of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, agriculture-related targets have stagnated or regressed.

Furthermore, major Pan-European manufacturing companies now require (supplying) farms to measure and monitoring their emissions. This, in turn, has compounded the challenge of steep food prices and the need to comply with regulatory authorities from a food safety point of view as well as the UN’s sustainability goals.

In Africa, the agriculture sector has been faced with access to cost-effective, reliable, and available power, as well as water scarcity. On the other hand, droughts have impacted crop production and livestock husbandry, prompting the adoption of drought-resistant harvests, enhanced irrigation methods, and efficient water management strategies.

Farmers are increasingly turning to digital technologies to improve their operations and take the sector one step closer to reduce costs of operations and be able to become good environmental stewards.

Modernising agriculture

Modern farming techniques and technologies have the potential to play an all-important role in enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability.  In parts of Africa, we’re seeing an exciting adoption of precision agriculture, biotechnology, and improved mechanisation.

Supporting the above is technologies such as the use of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), drones, and cloud-based reporting tools – all contributing to improved agricultural resilience, sustainable operations, and overall competitiveness. This, in turn, provides decision makers with the agility to make decisions within seconds.

Implementing practical solutions

Agriculture, however, often lacks the necessary, infrastructure to deploy the abovementioned technologies; the average farm is simply not built to handle large, on-premises software installations.

A cloud-based solution allows farmers to experience the benefits of digital transformation without extensive capital investment or large IT overhead.

Plus, if farmers opt for a scalable, hardware-agnostic cloud solution, they can easily build on top of existing hardware, where relevant, without having to worry about interoperability issues.

Farmers operate in a time-sensitive environments, and must respond quickly to shifting weather, crop, and market conditions. Furthermore, fields and equipment are often kilometres apart, which means conducting accurate on-site assessments requires extensive travel time.

Farming for the future

With digital technology, farmers can readily assess how their equipment is performing.  Advanced cloud and mobility capabilities mean farmers can not only view the status of critical equipment such as irrigation pivots, but they can control it mobile devices.  Pivots for example can be turned on or off remotely, water delivery adjusted, or pumps started or stopped.

Ultimately, the enhanced visibility and control provided by digital transformation allows farmers to use their resources more efficiently, reducing costs and increasing their contribution to environmental sustainability.

Clive Roberts is Segment Lead: CPG – Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric

Farming for the future

New technology will play an important role in enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability.
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Farming for the future

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