According to a report by the United Nations, the global population will reach 9.1 billion by 2050, a 34% increase in today’s population. This change, of course, raises questions about our ability to meet the future needs of a growing population.
Such growth will impact all emerging countries. According to the study’s estimates, Africa will be a home to more than 2 billion inhabitants.
Global agricultural production will need to rise by 70% in order to keep up with this increase.
In Africa, agriculture represents nearly 30% of the continent’s GDP and employs almost 60% of its labor force. However, its productivity is very often at risk due to various factors such as climate change, the mobility of rural youth populations migrating to cities and sometimes-difficult access to water in these areas.
Therefore, some African entrepreneurs are working to improve working conditions and farmers’ performance. These young startups revolutionize the industry thanks to new technologies providing much more accurate weather forecasts, projecting aerial and drone images and even making use of information about the quality of farmland.
This development is dependent upon two aspects: Big Data & access to new technologies.
These two aspects have one thing in common: information sharing promoted by openness to the Internet of Things, making these technologies more accessible.
This is the basis of most innovations, given the flow of new information that contributes to the development of new decision-making, enforcement and web service tools.
Kenyan startup UjuziKilimo offers farmers “intelligent” data analysis. It collects data on soil quality and weather that supports decision-making in real time and informs farmers via interactive text messages, providing precise details.
This helps to reduce waste as well as enables those in the farming industry to be informed about market development.
Nigerian startup Zenvus evaluates and analyzes certain data relevant to land use such as its temperature, nutrients and health from a vegetation standpoint. This information also helps farmers to optimize the treatment of their agricultural operations through better irrigation and the use of appropriate fertilizers, boosting their performance.
Armed and full of hope, Africa enters this new green revolution. But still, a major obstacle remains before we put these practices into action across the continent: the need to persuade those in the farming industry of the value of this new expertise. Some are still resistant to change, so a few more years of dialogue and learning are needed to raise awareness on the merits of these new approaches among farmers.