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How Digital Technology Is Changing Farming in Africa

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In a recent article on Harvard Business Review, Ndubuisi Ekekwe explores how digital technology is poised at providing a solution to increase farm productivity in Africa. In this article he reviews the food challenges affecting Africa such as weather changes, rural-urban migration that deprives farming communities of young people and deforestation amongst many challenges.

While African governments have employed many policy instruments to improve farm productivity, yields are still marginally improving. The article notes that African entrepreneurs are interested in how farmers work and how they can help improve yields.

Credits: Harvard Business Review

The following examples are cited aerial images from satellites or drones, weather forecasts, and soil sensors are making it possible to manage crop growth in real time. Practical examples used include:

  • Zenvus - a startup that measures and analyzes soil data like temperature, nutrients and vegetative health.
  • UjuziKilimo – uses big data and analytic capabilities to transform farmers into a knowledge-based community, with the goal of improving productivity through precision insights.
  • SunCulture – which sells drip irrigation kits that use solar energy to pump water from any source
  • Farm Drive – connects unbanked and underserved smallholder farmers to credit, while helping financial institutions cost-effectively increase their agricultural load portfolios
  • Farmerline and AgroCenta - deploy mobile and web technologies that bring farming advice, weather forecasts, market information, and financial tips to farmers, who are traditionally out of reach, due to barriers in connectivity, literacy, or language

Source: Harvard Business Review

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