With about 5 billion internet users and at least 4.65 billion social media users worldwide, it is almost taboo to speak about a lack of access to mobile communication in doing business. Yet, it exists in the agriculture sector, particularly with smallholder farmers in countries like Nigeria, even though they farm most of the food produced in the country.
The benefits of mobile communication and, by extension, mobile technology to the agricultural sector are innumerable, and the possibilities that digitalised agriculture brings are endless. From the quick dissemination of vital planting information leading to an increased and healthier crop yield to a better understanding of weather patterns, there is more to digitalised agriculture than meets the eye.
In the following paragraphs, we explore the benefits of this digitalisation and how to improve inclusion.
Digital Communication for Agriculture
- Disease prevention: Improved communication can help prevent diseases. Farmers can receive warnings about various strains of plant diseases and how to combat them via mobile. It’s possible to leverage mobile technology to establish relationships between farmers and researchers or plant pathologists; farmers can aid in identifying these diseases and supply information that can be used to combat them.
- Pest Control: Just like farmers can receive warnings about diseases, communication channels can also be set up to share information about pests, like behavioural patterns, preferred crops and the diseases they carry. With constant communication, farmers and stakeholders can successfully curb their harmful effects.
- Bridging the gap between markets and farmers: Digital communication gives the average person access to people and information from all areas of the world. That could be very useful to farm owners in correctly pricing products or even reaching customers outside their immediate environs. Farm managers also have valuable insights to develop and scale farm operations.
- Connecting farmers to information from the meteorological station: Gone are the days when weather prediction was carried out by gazing at the sky for extended periods. This highly fallible method is even less reliable in today’s changing climate. Thankfully, meteorological stations utilize scientific methods to determine near accurate weather forecasts, with weather patterns forecast correctly even years in advance. Access to these stations via mobile would be invaluable to farmers and others in the agricultural sector who rely on favourable weather conditions for a productive harvest. Farmers can connect to these stations and get information that helps them determine when to plant, harvest and what weather conditions to expect.
- More productive crop yields: Beyond disease prevention and pest control, farmers can also receive information on the latest, most productive crop cultivation methods. A network of farmers, researchers, agronomists, crop scientists and consultants constantly considering new crop cultivation methods could result in a more productive yield for all involved and a more sustainable food system.
For a farmer, access to information could be the difference between a productive harvest and a futile planting season. From purchasing the right pesticides to planting suitable crops at the right time, one way to know how to do these well is to get important information when needed.
A quick reminder that HollaTags is based in Nigeria but provides easy-to-integrate APIs and platforms for global SMS, USSD and Voice messaging. Connect with your customers on mobile using HollaTags.