Friday, 05 July 2019 03:19

Transforming Nigeria Food Systems With Affordable Digital Technology - Part 1 Featured

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Africa has been involved in farming for centuries, but sadly still have one of the highest number of starving population. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the U.N., some 153 million people (about 26 percent of the adult population) suffered from severe food insecurity in 2014/15 in sub-Saharan Africa.

For Africa to feed her teaming population, farmers must produce as much per acre as it can, decrease the threat of crop failure, decrease operational costs, and sell crops for the maximum value possible. This necessitates, among other things, effectually managing of input resources like fertilizer, water, and seed quality and reducing the impact of changeable variables (such as the climate and pests). Accomplishing this aim is far from mere thinking and policy formulation.

This is where the El-kanis Digital Agriculture Service can help.

By creating comprehensive insights into agriculture operations and situation, our platforms support farmers in making data-based operational decisions to optimize yield and boost revenue while minimizing expenses, the chances of crop failure, and environmental impact. Depending on the crop, the El-kanis Digital Agriculture Service can help increase overall profitability. El-kanis Digital Agriculture Service (farmTRUST) sums real-time data from a variety of sources, including environmental sensors in the field, NDVI images from UAVs (that show crop stress before it’s visible to the naked eye), IoT sensors mounted on field equipment, weather forecast data, and soil databases.

FarmX mobile solutions which comprises of FarmX mobile Application (farmX) and farmTRUST Local dialect IVR switchboard (IVR) are innovative mobile matching platforms that harnesses data to connect farmers to agro value chain players for increase productivity, market access and efficiency which help them retain bigger share of their crop value. With the exponential penetration of mobile network coverage to rural areas, our mobile solutions leverages on network coverage to help more farmers scale their farming practices by improving yields and connecting them to larger supply chains, thus, addressing food security, adaptation & resilience to climate change. FarmX and IVR offers services such as  profiling of farmers, interns, logistics services and agro-allied services, which enables digital identity of farmers. These aid in improving access to inputs and extension services from government to farmers. Data from our platform also enable development agencies access farmers for plant fertilizer distribution and inputs based on gender, location and size of farm. Our platform also provide required information and data to banks and insurance companies who provides credit and insurance services to women farmers’ to access agriculture insurance, loans, legal services and equipment hire at subsidised and reduced rates, whereby addressing gender inclusivity.

These digital platforms help farmers make better real-time operational and market based decisions centred on economic measures versus continuing with inherited farming practices. Also, the service allows farmers to review data from historical information on similar issues that may have been encountered so they can learn from the actions taken at that time and make better operational decisions today.

However, our platforms are easy to use with direct interface so everybody can use it. But it also delivers prospect for more technically capable farmers to “dig behind the data” on which references are based, for example, to take a closer look at NDVI or infrared images or telemetry data from a specific sensor in a certain part of the farm.

The Elkanis farmTRUST Services can be used in a wide variety of ways to report ineffectiveness in farming practices across crop types. Forecasting and detecting outbreaks from cassava mosaic to maize streak which causes devastating impact to farms. Elkanis solutions reduce the time and improves the accuracy of scouting; to measures growth rates; accessing wider markets and providing input data to variable-rate application of pesticides and irrigation. An example of El-kanis Digital Agriculture Service use case is helping a farmer decide when to harvest. For instance, the service can alert a farmer that a particular plot might be ready for harvest earlier than expected.

Different harvest developments are presented—e.g., harvest 10 days early, five days early, or as currently scheduled—and the financial impact of each of these developments given expected crop market conditions at the time of harvest are clearly shown. Thus, the farmer can quickly see how each development would affect the farm’s profitability. Further, if E-kanis Digital Agriculture Service is integrated into a farm management system, the farmer can schedule the harvest from within the service, making the whole workflow seamless from insight, to decision, to execution.

As we proceed, further on subsequent blog-post, further examples will be shown on how farmers can use El-kanis Digital Agriculture Service in many ways to increase their operating margin by boosting revenue, accessing wider markets and increasing operational efficiency.

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Ben Ekanikpong

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