The FarmSmarter App project aims to develop a D4Ag (Digitalisation for Agriculture) Smart Farming APP using state of the art technologies including machine learning, artificial intelligence and data analysis. The FarmSmarter App will enable smallholders in developing regions to access integrated, site specific sustainable farming information, boundary mapping facilities and early disease identification and propagation resources.
Across Africa and in developing countries generally, dynamics of culture, lack of access to finance and poor information dissemination preclude smallholders from best-in-class sustainable farming practices.
Enhanced productivity, welfare and route to market for smallholder farmers will be achieved through an accessible resource of agri-data and sustainable farming advice. Smallholder farmers in developing regions find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of poor productivity and poverty, this is particularly the case for women and young farmers. For example, in Nigeria insect pests and diseases in yams resulted in a 25% mean annual yield loss in 2003. Early disease identification via the app will improve smallholders’ productivity and profits.
The development of the FarmSmarter App addresses challenges of plot boundary verification as a means of raising investment. Often smallholders own their land through customary law, which can preclude them from raising finance. Boundary mapping can help to register official land ownership as a means of raising finance.
The current under exploitation of smallholder resources is being addressed through providing access to disease identification and strategies to mitigate adverse climatic conditions for smallholders. These resources, together with information accessibility for improved market access will improve livelihoods for smallholders.
The increased yield through informed farming decisions via the FarmSmarter App will create potential for improved wealth across gender boundaries, enabling women and youth to directly access the information they need to run efficient smallholdings, thus by-passing the patriarchal traditions of information dissemination prevalent in West Africa and developing countries.
In a future of uncertain food supply, climatic change and the need for increased efficiency in farming methods, the FarmSmarter App will encourage smallholders to use innovative Smart Farming and precision farming techniques thereby reducing waste, increasing yield and improving the productivity, efficiency and autonomy of smallholders.
As the effects of climate change spread, and the global population continues to grow and become urbanized, it is imperative that farmers in these regions, who are the mainstay of rural communities, become successful in the future.