Climate change is having a telling effect of agricultural value chains across the African continent something that has spurred farmers to turn to technology to respond to the new challenge.
Drones, a relatively new technology in the African continent, are being used by agri-tech start-ups to help farmers increase production by intelligently managing their farms.
Aboubacar Karim, a 24-year-old farmer has made it his mission to put an end to agricultural losses as a result of poor crop management. He told SPORE journal, that: “We can’t carry on farming in the same way our grandparents did, using the same utentils that people have been using for centuries.”
His company, Investiv uses drones equipped with multispectral cameras. The equipment produces agricultural land-use maps top pinpoint areas of crop disease, poor soil fertility or under hydration. The company then analyses the data so that farmers can take appropriate action. The farmers may fine tune fertiliser and disease control product dosages or use water and inputs more efficiently.
Farmers, according to the report, can also log into Investiv’s land management platform to view the latest data on their farms. Over 5000 ha of farmland have been mapped since the company started operating in May 2017.
Investev received R150, 000 (US$10,000) from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the assistance also comprised business training and access to a network of entrepreneurs.
“That was my first experience of entrepreneurship and business training. Like lots of tech start-ups, I had big ideas but hadn’t really considered how they’d benefit farmers.”
The training coupled with mentor guidance and an opportunity to test its solutions in the field enabled Investiv to refine its service and tailor them to specific contexts and crops (mainly banana, rice and cotton).
“We want to help increase the income of those farmers who are poor. We want to show young people that agriculture can be attractive,” Karim told the media.