In Africa the major barrier to productivity and technological adaptation mostly in rural areas is education(farmer education through agricultural extension trainings). A vast majority of local farmers in africa lack access to agricultural information in all spheres of production, some also have a poor understanding of how to implement modern agricultural techniques and technologies to increase crop yield at a lower cost.
RuAfrik is a farmer education programme that is aimed at training local farmers on sustainable farming methods that would gurantee high output, yield with a low cost approach. Education is a key approach in achieving any goal, been a student in a univesity of agriculture has taught me so much about balancing ICT and agriculture for efficiency. In the cause of our trainings we shall educate famers on the following technologies that can transform their productivity and boost the economy;
Teaching farmers ho to apply precision farmer in their farms so as to reduce cost and optimize output,
I have designed a sytem that could enable farmers to produce more ith less land, later and reduce disease, this technique would help local farmer utilize waste water from fish ponds and drainages to grow plants in small open spaces in their homes, it’s a farming method called aquaponics system where farmers can grow fish and plants at their backyard, the method helps farmers to produce with small piece of land and also conserve water. Sensors and actuators and used to control the system, when the pond water becomes acidic and unhealthy for the fishes to live in, it is pumped out into a hydroponics( soiless medium ) system containing the plants, the plants absorb the waste from the water and use them as nutrients to grow and also filter the water which would be pumped back into the fish pond. The system is totally automated to reduce cost of labour and ensure precision in the farm. The temperature of the pond is monitored with a sensor and when the threshold is exceeded the air pump is activated to increase the dissolved oxygen level of the pond and improve the health of the fish and its eggs. The technology is cost efficient and helps farmers to fully utilize their facility.
Our technology would also enable the farmer to inform buyers in the major market of their available product and available quantity, the farmers are able to post their available product using a USSD code which would be broadcasted to all those in the database defined under the network , our major focus is to educate women especially women(widows inclusive) as well as their kids. In other to increase access to market for the farmers and solve post harvest issues which results into loss of stocks.
We would train farmers on how to preserve their products like fish, tomatoes, vegetables and tuber crops using a mixes breed of local preservation techniques and solar dryers, we have found out that most farmers would produce more if they have knowledge on how to build their own local dryers and refrigerator as well as egg incubators.
Teach these farmers how to build homemade solar dryers, refrigerator and incubators would go a long way in curbing post harvest losses, in the case of tuber crops and peppers, we shall teach the farmers how to preserve these crops by first drying and then blending it into flour to preserve it and make it easy to transport whenever needed.
Another approach we would also deploy in curbing post harvest waste would also include teaching farmers how to properly package and store their products, most local farmers lack knowledge of packaging and storage, so its essential to train the local farmer how to package their products and also educate them the art of precision storage, letting them understand that every product has different storage environment for it to last long.
Information is key to market the products and therefore connectivity is important for local areas and supplying local farmers with low cost phones which they can use to access information through ussd codes which the farmers can use to know the market demands and prices, this would help them to prepare their logistics and cut down cost which would turn out as a great profit mechanism for the farmers and buyers can also have a direct link with the local producers.
Its also important to teach these farmers effective weed management and how to properly irrigate their farms so as not to cause soil stress and leaching beyond the suction pressures of the plants. Also reaching out to them on how to build mini vertical farms and boost it with artificial photosynthesis using fluorescent lamps which can be used even at night, finally supply farmers with information about early disaster warnings would go along way to reduce losses due to such disaster