The primary production sector is a key aspect in the growth process of various countries and cities all over the world’ It might not be glaring or noticeable but it has a lot of impact on economic growth and development as a whole. The farming industry being one of the major outlets of the primary production sector does not only cover food needs but encompasses areas like clothing, rubber, plastics, fuels, oleo chemicals (animal and vegetable oils) just to mention a few. The farming and agricultural sector to some extent has been neglected with respect to technological needs and innovation. Improvements have been made in certain aspects but compared to other production sectors.
The farming sector on the other hand still lacks some incentives or tools that can improve production, logistics and supply. — Udoka C.Ogbogbo
Technology and innovation can be applied in practically all areas and works of life, why not in the farming industry? In Ghana and the West African sub region in its entirety depends on the farming industry in forms of exportation of raw materials to other nations as well as processing these raw materials into finished goods. Technology can be applied in the industry through several ways, I would be narrowing this down to 3 ways I think it would help best.
To begin with, farming is vast and broad but narrowed down to livestock and crops, take crops for example, each crop has its method and season of cultivation, diversity is a necessary requirement to improve production. Farmers that have knowledge on only a few crops cannot diversify and try other crops due to lack of technical know-how.
How can technology help?
Well, Agro Innova for example as an organization has designed an application, FBSInnova which is based on the farmer business school provides you with information on various crops and cropping calendars with the activities you need to carry out on your farm and crops as well as enlightens farmers on ways to track their finances. That way farmers with little experience in cultivating other crops can download and sign up on this application and get enough education to cultivate different crops, track all activities carried out on the farm and be more accurate when it comes to losses and profits.
Furthermore, production is basically about demand and supply of goods and services, farmers sometimes due to their location (usually less developed or remote areas) have issues reaching customers to carry out transactions. Also, customers in need of a product or service find it difficult to reach these farmers sometimes. Platforms in forms of mobile or web apps and online markets enable customers and farmers to interact and finalize deals. Such platforms give customers options that is they have a variety of farmers and products to pick from. AkokoMarket, an example of these platforms makes buying and selling easier, has a variety of products, ranging from poultry to livestock and crops, it even provides veterinary services for livestock. All these made simple with technology.
Last but not least, technology is not all about software and applications. Machines, devices can also be used to aid farming and agriculture as a whole. Certain processes carried out manually by farmers take longer periods of time and energy that can be used for other farm work. Technology can be applied to aid in such areas to save time and would eventually increase production rates. In processing raw cassava into gari for example, one has to wash, peel, ferment, dry and fry the cassava. A machine has been designed and built with the necessary parts and compartments to carry out all these processes, making things easier for farmers.
Recognising the role that technology can play in advancing and supporting agriculture, it is recommended that it be given necessary incentives to thrive, for the benefit of farmers. Moreover, since the agricultural sector is a very crucial player in economic development, it should be aided via technology to function optimally. Suggested technological innovation includes use of apps such as the FBSinnova and the online marketing apps like the Akokomarket as well as machines that aid in farming.
Written by: Udoka Chidozie Ogbogbo ( Intern at Agro Innova Ltd)