Smart tech the new tool for African farmers

DAKAR: (How Do You Manage To Feed School Children Better And At A Lower Cost? How Do You Measure The Number Of Mangoes On Your Farm So That You Get A Fair Price? And What Is Smart-but-cheap? Way For A Farmer To Get His Irrigation Law Reduce?

Sub-Saharan Africa Has The Image Of Ruthless Silence And Low Productivity, But Experts Say New Technology Is Changing The Picture.

Farmers, Crop Buyers, And Other Industry Professionals Have Begun To Use Smart Gadgets And Crunch Numbers To Improve Productivity, Reduce Costs, And Eliminate Market Wrinkles, They Say.

There ' S A Digital Revolution Unfolding In Africa, Says Pascal Bonnet, Deputy Director Of CIRAD, The French Agricultural Research Center For International Development.

Around The Continent There Are Excellent Researchers In The Field Of Information Technology - Digital Agriculture Is A Real Opportunity For Qualified Young Africans

The Idea Of ​​connecting Farmers Directly With Consumers, Wholesalers And Shops Is A Well-known Story In Europe And North America.

Awa Thiam, A 28-year-old Telecom Expert, Follows The Example In Her Country Of Birth Senegal.

The Company She Founded, Lifantou, Connects School Canteens With Agricultural Cooperatives Using Big Data.

There Is A Huge Need For Siam Thiam Here, Last Month She Presented Her Work At An Agrotechnology Conference In Dakar.

Today, Between 25 And 50 Percent Of The Costs Of School Meals Go To Intermediaries, But Schools Have A Limited Budget. If You Shorten The Supply Chain, Canteens Can Reduce The Cost Of Meals And Offer The Children More Varied Menus. "

Its One-stop Platform Is Based On A Database Of Crop Production And Schools To Match The Potential Demand With The Supply.

Group Purchasing To Reduce School Costs And Get Into Last Bloom Organizes Transport Of Goods, Monitoring Real-time Operations

In The Meantime, A Project Named Pix Fruit Is Aimed At Helping Farmers Who Have Estimated Their Mango Sausage By Counting The Fruit On A Number Of Trees And Then Extrapolating It For The Entire Plantation.

This Rough-and-ready Method Has A Lot Of Room For Errors.

Emile Faye, A French Researcher In The Field Of Digital Agro-ecology, Who Works For Pix Fruit, Says That The Error Margin Could Be A Factor Of 10.

For Example, A Buyer Can Pay The Price For Two Tons Of Mangoes While He Receives 20 Tons At The Farmer's House, Although Errors Can Both End Up.

Pix Fruit ' S Alternative Uses Advanced Modeling Software To Produce A More Accurate Crop Count

Using A Smartphone The Farmer Makes Pictures Of A Selection Of Trees In His Fields.

Fruit Recognition Technology Then Calculates The Probable Total Harvest Based On A Database Compiled Using Drones, Which Also Contains Information About Climate, Soil And Administrative Constraints

In This Way, Farmers Learn The True Value Of Their Crops, While Wholesalers And Price Negotiators Can Better Take Over The Risk Of Overeating Or Too Low A Stock.

The System, Jointly Developed By CIRAD And The Senegalese Institute For Agricultural Research, Could Be Extended To Coffee, Lychees And Citrus Fruits.

That The Smartphone Should Play Such A Central Role Is No Surprise.

The Rise Of The Mobile Phone Helped Africa To Exceed The Cost Of Installing Landlines, And Stimulated Innovative Use, From Ride Sharing To Money Transfer.

The Groundbreaking Work Is Now Expanding Into The Rural World.

According To, The Third Most Downloaded Apps Of The Continent Is Esoko, Which Collects And Shares Crop Prices, Offers Weather Information And Agricultural Tips And Arranges Payments Via A Mobile Money System.

It Is Active In Benin, Ghana, Kenya Malawi Madagascar , Mozambique And Zimbabwe .

The Widim Pump, Made By A Dakar Firm Called Nano Air, Is A Box Controlled By SMS Messages That A Farmer Sends To Manage His Irrigation System.

The Savings Are Substantial, Even For Poor Peasant Families, Says Oumar Basse, A 27-year-old Engineer And The Company & Co.

There ' S No More Need For The Farmer To Walk Several Kilometers (miles) Every Day Or Use Up Fuel Or Hire Someone To Monitor The Pumps.

He Can Turn On The Water Or Turn Off The Power With His Cell Phone.

With 12 Employees After Two Years In Operation, Nanoair Has Sold 250 Widim Systems And Received Orders From Morocco And Zambia.

Basse Has Also Founded Another Firm Helping With Handling Deliveries And After-sales Services.