Two big corporations, Techno Brain and Microsoft Corporation, have collaborated to launch the Digital Agriculture Platform across Africa. The platform will help farmers improve crop yields as well as increase income.
In cases of climate change, the small-scale farmers are the most vulnerable considering that rain-fed agriculture accounts for over 90% of farmed land in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, these farmers are at risk, some of which is including diseases, drought, and pests are beyond their control.
The technological solution offered by Techno Brain involves data collection, location of the farm through the Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, forecasted rainfall and weather patterns, type of land and soil nutrition, as well as process the information on an intelligent cloud to develop insights, to help farmers in Africa come up with better farming decisions.
Microsoft Corporation is already working with both government and enterprises across India in helping small-scale farmers as well as dependents on rain-fed agriculture.
This partnership will now be extended into Africa whereby the pilot projects are set to commence in Tanzania and Malawi in collaboration with ETG Farmers Foundation and National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) respectively.
In these projects, farmers get insights on their mobile phones through short message service (SMS) as well as voice platforms. Some of the insights include pest growth alerts, market information, adverse weather notices, optimal sowing week, best crops to grow, preferred harvesting time, as well as farming tips created in collaboration with African Governments and other knowledge partners.
During its official launch, Techno Brain’s Chief Operations Officer, Anand Mohan asserted that agriculture is one of the leading economic activity for Africans, but unfortunately has numerous untapped opportunities. For instance, many small-scale farmers lack various capacities which could be exploited to maximize their production. Therefore, the platforms developed by Techno Brain and Microsoft will empower these farmers to improve their yields and in turn, their income. Cloud + AI Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Anil Bhansali believes it is the company’s vision to exploit the power of AI and their cloud to help in problem-solving by developing innovative and scalable solutions.
This partnership is a significant achievement in the ongoing efforts on supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods across Africa as well as the rest of the world at large. Moreover, the partnership will allow the small-scale farmers to create a market and climate resilience, resulting in the development of new models in agribusiness deemed to make agriculture a feasible livelihood for both farmers and consumers across the continent.
Overall this partnership believes that the smart and precision agriculture will manage to attract youth into agribusiness.