Farmers need all the help they can get to help them make the right decisions, which is why agriculture cannot survive without agricultural technology (agritech). This was the clear message shared by industry experts during a recent edition of Food For Mzansi’s Gather To Grow on Twitter.
The session explored some of the must-have agritech apps for all up-and-coming farmers.
According to Ryan Kayati, founder of FarmHut, agricultural technology are helpful tools that simplify processes that have become redundant over time.
“It can be a mobile app, software, or even natural indigenous technology. As long as it solves a [problem] and increases efficiency on the farm,” Kayati explains.
Big need for better farm support
However, agricultural technology is nothing new, Dr Luke Metelerkamp, a post-doctoral fellow at the Environmental Learning and Research Centre at Rhodes University, adds.
“Retail supermarkets would not be able to exist without very sophisticated digital inventory systems to help them track what’s on their shelves, and how much food is going where. What we are really talking about is agritech 2.0, this new revolution of agritech. A lot of which are coming through on people’s smartphones.”
Metelerkamp is also an associate researcher at the Centre for Sustainable Transitions (CST) and a lecturer within the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University. According to him, at the moment, agritech is all about how much more accessible technology is to people from all walks of life.
“Almost 70% of all agritech currently are new apps being developed around agricultural advisory information services, which I think is very interesting and speaks to the scale of the need for support on the ground.”
Experts also agree that the use of technology differs from farm to farm, as it is unlikely that every farmer will use the same technology.
Samkelo Booi, the co-founder of Abelusi, says agritech must be client solutions focused and must address agribusiness or agricultural problems. “This could range from looking at market access issues to issues of efficiency or productivity,” he says.
During the session, experts also discussed the following:
- How they ventured into the agricultural technology space and set up their various applications;
- Tech solutions available to help farmers become more effective and efficient; and
- The future of agricultural technology in Africa.
Sign up for Farmer’s Inside Track: Join our exclusive platform for new entrants into farming and agri-business, with newsletters and podcasts.