You’ve probably heard the term digitisation before, but have you ever heard it connected to agriculture? The agri sector’s current digital environment offers a whole host of solutions to make a farmer’s life easier, but it also comes with challenges. On today’s episode of Food For Mzansi TV we chat to Nico Groenewald, the head of agribusiness at Standard Bank, about digitised agritech solutions.
What type of challenges do farmers face in today’s digital environment?
With the digital revolution, farmers have seen a massive shift in both the advantages of implementing different types of technology into their everyday lives, as well as the challenges of utilising these types of technology. It’s no longer as simple as buying some seeds and hoping they would grow. Farmers are now able to take advantage of the massive leaps in Mzansi’s agritech industry, but that also means that being a farmer is more than just knowing how to plant.
Not only does the cost of new forms of technology present a challenge to farmers, but having the expertise to know what information to use and how to use it also puts up a barrier for farmers hoping to use modern technology on their farms.
What are the advantages of modern technology over traditional agriculture?
- Tailored information and insight: Technology allows you to tailor the information to your needs. Being a better farmer means gathering information on soils, feed and business, and being able to utilize this information to optimise your farming practices and production.
- Gain access to products and services: The Internet of Things can connect farmers with service providers across the web and access products and services that wouldn’t have been available otherwise.
- Explore new markets: With modern technology, you can gain insights into new markets and find ways to break into that market or discover new linkages in those markets.
- Sustainability: Digitisation has given farmers the opportunity to farm more sustainably (Groenewald breaks this concept down in today’s episode, so remember to watch it).
How has agritech reduced the risks for farmers?
Farmers in Africa have opened their arms wide and fully welcomed technology into their enterprises, and it’s had a huge impact on their productivity. Finding ways to give smaller scale farmers the same access to technology – from WhatsApp messages to drone technology – has evened the playing field immensely. Modern technology has offered both small-scale and commercial farmers the opportunity to utilise information and improve their farming practices.