With over seven billion people on this planet and expectations of the population reaching 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050, and almost 11.2 billion by 2100, We are and will be facing one of the biggest challenges of the century.
How do we feed all these mouths?
New evidence continues to signal that the number of hungry people in the world is growing, reaching 821 million in 2017 or one in every nine people, according to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018
More than one-quarter of the world’s population suffer from malnutrition, mostly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the number of undernourished people, i.e. those facing chronic food deprivation, has increased to almost 821 million in 2017, from around 804 million in 2016 as asserted by the food and agriculture organisation of the United Nations.
The share of undernourished people in the world population – the prevalence of undernourishment, – may have reached 10.9 per cent in 2017. Adverse climate and weather conditions in many regions of the world and economic slowdowns that have contributed and worsened the food security, all help to explain this deteriorating situation.
To sustain the ever-growing population, it is imperative that we figure out how to develop agriculture to be able to feed everyone in the future.
African farmers are attached to their traditions and quite reluctant to change, and they are somehow immune to new technology and innovation.
Just like in the banking industry, where mobile money technologies have become pervasive regardless of the quasi-inexistent banking system, agriculture must follow suit.
For Africa as a continent to develop, current problems in agriculture should be a thing of the past, by addressing them one after the other.
African farmers must accept new technologies and products regardless of their resistance to technology and new methods of farming.
Innovative solutions must be implemented; technology and information sharing can help produce enough food and correctly distribute it around the planet.
The African continent has enormous potential with 60% of the world’s non-cultivated arable lands but still spends $25 billion annually on food imports.
Africa could play a significant role and take on future food challenges, yet it needs to leapfrog the innovation gap with other continents to produce enough food for its population and work toward becoming a food exporter.
In Africa currently, agritech is on the rise, one can talk of Anitrack which was founded by Tony Marfo in 2016, Anitrack is a product that is revolutionary for farmers across Africa. The startup has developed a collar for livestock that tracks the whereabouts and health of the animal and relays this back to a mobile application where the farmer can keep track of this information.
This product allows farmers to pinpoint sick animals within groups and treat them before illness spreads.
It will also provide a new sense of security as stolen or runaway animals are tracked.
GUSS is a remote controlled, driverless sprayer that increases productivity. The machine utilises advanced vehicle sensors and software to guide itself.
Primarily for use in orchards, it is designed not to damage any low hanging tree, while working to streamline the success of the tractor as a whole.
Farms are designed to have varying widths per row, so GUSS was designed with this in mind and had 4-wheel steering to make sure it covers all of the orchards that it should.
Pests are one of the number one reasons crops die every year. Pesticides are created in an attempt to combat pests, but they’re often difficult to distribute. GUSS addresses that challenge head-on while saving farmers hours of work thanks to the driverless sprayer.
The Well Watch 700 is a one-of-a-kind commercial grade sonic water level indicator that has revolutionised the monitoring of products as a whole, having municipal, agricultural, and oil/gas applications. Unlike other monitoring systems, it sends out an acoustic signal throughout the casing of the product to accurately predict water levels.
It is effortless to install and monitor plus eliminates recurring fees that are common with other water level measurement products.
For Africa to develop agriculturally, it is critical that all materials used are as profitable as possible. The Well Watch 700 allows farmers to ensure that they are accurately predicting water levels and thus avoiding future waste.
Ignitia is the world’s first and most accurate tropical weather forecasting company.
With over 84% reliability, Ignitia’s proprietary forecasting model predicts tropical weather patterns down to a 3 km square range. The forecasts are delivered to West African farmers via SMS in partnership with mobile network operators.
Since it was a commercial launch in 2015, the company has established partnerships to work with small scale farmers. Daily, monthly and seasonal rain forecasts are sent out to help farmers avoid adverse impacts of an ever-changing climate.
With 84% accuracy and reliability rate, ignitia’s iska is twice as accurate as global models which are only right 39% of the time. Through weather forecasting, climate expectations can best be determined for effective decision making; Talking of farmers knowing what to do at the right time? One will talk of any of the following like when to:
Fieldnet is a company that specialises in agricultural products that improve farming.
One of their most successful and new products is the Pivot Lateral Control, which addresses challenges farmers face controlling and managing several different agricultural machines at once.
The system allows farmers to remotely control devices by synchronising the machines onto one system that then creates a universal feed for the farmer to control.
Saphon Energy, founded by Hassin Labaied and Anis Aouini in Tunisia, the Saphonian is a bladeless wind turbine that creates energy by leveraging sailboat technology. Forbes describes it saying: ”The sail channels the wind in a back and forth motion and then converts the kinetic energy into mechanical energy using pistons.”
Saphon Energy is a cleantech company specialised in developing and promoting a breakthrough innovation named “The Saphonian, the Zero-Blade Wind Converter”.
The Saphonian offers an efficient, reliable and eco-friendly way to harness the wind and generate Green Energy.
QualiTrace is a vibrant start-up that uses track and trace technology to authenticate product inputs and outputs. The focus of QualiTrace is to confirm agro-inputs (crop protection products) using a mobile validation system.
Agroseal Limited is a commodity trading company that empowers fruits and vegetable smallholder farmers through innovation and technology to gain reliable and constant access to the higher-end market to increase income levels and reduce poverty.
For a country to survive, it needs a stable source of food. With our growing population, it will be necessary that every part of the world’s agricultural base can advance.
Africa is currently at a pivotal point with its booming population, increasing urbanisation, and abundance of high-growth economies producing the potential for the continent to drive global economic growth in this century.
Advancement currently being made in tech will enable Africa to claim its fair share of the global market. Already, mobile money products like Safaricom’s M-Pesa have produced new industries that are booming globally.
Why can’t the same be done in African AgriTech?
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