The world as we know it has become intelligent, said Dr Mogale Sebopetsa, the head of the Western Cape department of agriculture, during its WOW Day held at Elsenburg in Stellenbosch today.
The department highlighted the many innovations and technologies developed for the province. Fourteen new innovations and agri tech applications were presented, showcasing novel approaches to improved service delivery
Sebopetsa said, “We need new and innovative technologies to remain competitive and solve new problems that the sector faces. It is motivating to see the out of the box innovations we are developing to ensure growth and jobs in this sunrise sector.”
In his opening address, presented virtually, Dr Ivan Meyer, the Western Cape minister of agriculture, said, “We are seeing many farmers embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution and using innovation and technology very successfully in their business, with good results. There are many innovations in both plant and animal science and it can reduce input costs and help farmers to farm effectively. Agricultural stakeholders should embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its technology and innovation as this is the future of agriculture in South Africa.”
Innovations and technologies showcased:
- Fruitlook: an application that supports farmers in improving their water use efficiency and overall quality of yield.
- CapeFarmMapper: an online mapping tool designed to improve the spatial information available in order to increase efficiency through foresight for decision making in the fields of agriculture and environmental management. Both Fruitlook and CapeFarmMapper have seen a number of additions since its inception and has an increased user database.
- Novel technologies in research: from transistors to lasers and enhancements in agricultural research. The fleet of drones, including the latest spray drone was also on display.
- Water and energy saving technologiesreducing the departments’ own carbon footprint.
- AgriStats portal: a comprehensive web-based agricultural statistics portal designed to assist with farm business planning and decision making.
- Agricultural Information Management System (AIMS): a work flow based system with different data input and capture methods with a strong spatial component that aims to improve the department’s decision making through business intelligence and inform its strategies to deliver improved and quality service delivery.
- Rural safety monitoring dashboard: a brand-new interactive digital platform making use of a combination of technology tools i.e. mobile-and web-mapping applications. It aims to improve rural safety within rural and agricultural communities across the province – all towards an overall improved, protected and safe agricultural environment.
- Landcare River Restoration: improving and restoring the ecological infrastructure on which farming communities is so highly dependent, such as the promotion of the planting of indigenous trees, as well as alien clearing.
- Bi-annual Disaster Risk assessments: This assessing the conditions of the veld and start building a baseline, which can be utilised as an early warning system.
- E-Learning platform established by the Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute, in collaboration with Stellenbosch University, in order to save the academic year amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. This online learning tool is designed to assist students to stay abreast with all content, assignments and academic information.
- Diploma in Agriculture: a three-year diploma developed by theElsenburg Agricultural Training Institute, replacing the two-year Higher Certificate and one-year Diploma. Accreditation was obtained in October 2019 from SAQA. In obtaining this diploma, the graduate gains the best knowledge, skills and attitude to function within any sphere of agriculture.
- eCOS: an online export certificate office management tool in its development phase to assist with information needed during the process of export certification and market access with various functionalities.
- Embracing the future – a novel approach followed by the department to plan its future. The department hopes to maximise its mandate within the constraints of its external environment and highlighted the various ways in which it hopes to support the sector.
- A number of communication tools (i.e. AgriProbe, Careers in Agriculture)on how information is shared with stakeholders.
Through new innovations and technology the Western Cape department of agriculture aims to deliver jobs, ensure safety and promote dignity and wellbeing for all agricultural stakeholders.