New mobile app uses IoT to help African farmers

IFAD propels inclusive rural economic growth in Togo
IFAD propels inclusive rural economic growth in Togo
New mobile app uses IoT to help African farmers
New mobile app uses IoT to help African farmers

A new mobile application that makes use of the latest technology in a bid to help farmers to produce crops more efficiently and assisting them to use less fertilizer is now available worldwide. AgIQ, will help farmers to use only the correct amount of fertilizer for their crops.

“We offer a platform that is easy to use and understand. We would like to help farmers to collect and use their data. We make technology easy,” said Thinus Enslin, the founder and owner of Potchefstroom-based agronomy company AgriPrecise

“Over-fertilizing is not only costly but also negative for the environment”

Based on accurate soil sampling and satellite imagery that continuously monitored the well-being of their crops and multiyear data analyses, farmers can now apply the precise amounts of fertilizer required by their crops to thrive.

“With multiyear analysis the data shows exactly what is going on in the soil and what the crops need. The results speak for themselves, said Enslin.”

While it is not unique in the world – several other similar apps already exist elsewhere – it is the first to offer multiple year analysis of soil and plant conditions as well as of crop yields, Enslin said.

“By using the data that has been collected by AgIQ, we can analyze, interpret and identify trends in real-time. Now you have one secure platform that collects and manages your information.” “We are fortunate in that we have an expert agronomist in the team who likes to travel and accordingly we are able to service clients internationally with great ease, he added.”

AgriPrecise currently has projects underway in Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa. The company is also looking to expand in other African countries and internationally.

Eslin says with the Internet of Things (IoT) that is on our doorstep, collecting data has never been easier. It makes the world a smaller place.

Profitability is not always measured by the yield a farmer gets from his crops but also the blend of fertilizers he uses. Less input cost equals better profit margin.

“By using satellite imagery and looking carefully at the plants spectral signature we can tell precisely which plants are thriving and which are doing less well. In doing so we can give actionable validated advice.

“By applying the correct amount of fertilizer and sometimes changing the blend, we can increase yields while at the same time reducing costs,” he said.

One of the partners in the AgIQ project is Centurion technology solutions company, Moyo Business Advisory (MBA).

MBA Business Development Director, Dewald Lindeque, said one of the crucially important aspects of the new app was the data analytics processing that would be done in the back office.

“All industries including agriculture have become very data-centric in how data are applied to improve the productivity of the enterprise and in mitigating costs.

“AgIQ is uniquely positioned in achieving both objectives by using agricultural experts in the field for things like soil sampling, verifying satellite imagery and by interacting directly with farmers and their crops.

“A team of top-notch data scientists in our back-office do the analytics and the results are then fed back to the farmer to implement in his fields.”

He said the app, which is currently only available for Apple devices, would shortly also be available for Android operating systems.

Jaco Minnaar chairman of Grain SA, one of the largest agri-business organisations in South Africa, said farmers in this country had a history of being early adopters of new technologies.

“Because of our adverse climatic conditions, we basically don’t have a choice when it comes to farming efficiently if we want to compete with countries like the United States, Canada and Europe.

He said data collection and data analytics were playing an ever increasingly important role in helping farmers to grow their crops efficiently and cost-effectively.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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