By George Hove
Technology has been greatly transforming agriculture especially in African countries, and the opportunities of are vastly huge especially against traditional, absolute technology which needs to be revamped.
The introduction of Eco-farmer and Agri Mobi are examples of how simple technologies can add value to the agricultural sector
Mechanization which is the use of highly sophisticated and efficient technology and machinery has seen productivity increasing using minimum labor. Countries like Brazil, Israel have successfully made use of technology through mechanization and automation.
As economies grow, new industries are birthed and there has to be transference of labor at the same time to maintain a balance.
The automation of systems and the use of wireless technology, via a system termed precision agriculture has enabled farmers to irrigate efficiently, control implements and environments for maximum productivity.
The main phases of the agriculture industry include crop cultivation, water management, fertilizer application, fertigation, pest management, harvesting, post-harvest handling, transport of food products, packaging, food preservation, and food processing/value addition, quality management, food safety, food storage, and food marketing.
All these areas in Agriculture can be made easier with the more use of technology, linking suppliers with buyers; with the use of the internet farmers can help the farmers get access to publications and materials on best farming techniques.
The use of Global Position System (GPS) and the remote sensing have become a common thing in Zimbabwe and Africa as a continent, however these technologies have been under-utilized as they can do much more to help commercial farmers.
Development of new software’s that will help in hydrological modeling, determination of ground water flow direction and quantities can go a long way in helping farmers determine water quantities for irrigation. Zimbabwe and other countries in the Sub Saharan region have been experiencing droughts over the past five years with inconsistent rains. This has created a shift towards the use of ground water for irrigation. The adaptation of ICT in agriculture without limiting the scope of use of hardware only but softwares as well can improve agriculture in Zimbabwe and the African continent.
Technology can easily replace manpower and reduce challenge of inaccessibility especially in remote areas of Mutorashanga, Muzarabani and Mberengwa. People in these areas are very keen in adopting new technologies, the use of smart phones which has become a major tool in sending and receiving information.