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How AgriTech Products are Changing Agriculture

Guest Contributor, Tuesday July 3rd 2018

This post was written by Henry Duckworth, an intern at the MEST Incubator Accra.

In 2015, the world population was 7.3 billion. According to the UN, it is expected that the global population will reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050, and 11.2 billion by 2100. During that time, to sustain the ever-growing population it is imperative that we figure out how to develop agricultural to be able to feed everyone in the future. It has been proven that the best way to advance the agricultural sector is through the use of new  products.
"Tech is exciting, it is a starting point and the agricultural industry is behind in terms of adoption of tech. We all have an interest in food security and we all need to participate.” - Niki Neumann at MEST Africa Summit on the AgriTech panel.

Of the top ten nations leading agricultural production globally, there is not one African nation represented. For Africa as a whole to develop further, current problems in agriculture must be addressed. New techniques and products must be taken up by African farmers. Products that can cut cost and time are what can truly help Africa progress, not only agriculturally, but economically.
"If you enable farmers with technology, you enable Africa.” - Niki Neumann

Recently, there have been significant advances on the continent worth noting, particularly tech solutions that can help solve some of the most pressing issues. We’ve looked at a few of the most promising companies that are working to address cost and time constraints to better the agricultural market as a whole.

Anitrack

Founded by MEST alumni in 2016, Anitrack is a product that will be revolutionary for farmers across Africa. The startup has developed a collar for livestock that tracks the whereabouts and health of the animal and relays this back to a mobile application where the farmer can keep track of this information.

This product will allow farmers to pinpoint sick animals within groups and treat them before illness spreads. It will also provide a new sense of security as stolen or runaway animals can be tracked.

GUSS

GUSS is a remote controlled, driverless sprayer that increases productivity. The machine utilizes advanced vehicle sensors and software to guide itself. Primarily for use in orchards, it is designed to not damage any low hanging trees, while working to streamline the success of the tractor as a whole. Orchards are designed to have varying widths per row, so GUSS was design with this in mind and has 4-wheel steering to make sure it covers all of the orchard that it should.

Pests are one of the number one reasons crops die every year. Pesticides were created in an attempt to combat pests, but they’re often difficult to distribute. GUSS addresses that challenge head on, while saving farmers hours of work thanks to the driverless sprayer.

Well Watch 700

The Well Watch 700 is a one-of-a-kind commercial grade sonic water level indicator that has revolutionized the monitoring of products as a whole, having municipal, agricultural, and oil/gas applications. Unlike other monitoring systems it sends out an acoustic signal throughout the casing of the product to accurately predict water levels. It is extremely easy to install and monitor plus eliminates recurring fees that are common with other water level measurement products.

For Africa to develop agriculturally it is critical that all materials being used are as profitable as possible. The Well Watch 700 allows farmers to ensure that they are accurately predicting water levels and thus avoiding future waste.

Fieldnet

Fieldnet is a company that specializes in agricultural products that improve farming. One of their most successful and new products is the Pivot Lateral Control, which addresses challenges farmers face controlling and managing several different agricultural machines at once. The system allows farmers to remotely control machines by synchronizing the machines onto one system that then creates a universal feed for the farmer to control.

Saphonian

Founded by Hassin Labaied and Anis Aouini in Tunisia, the Saphonian is a bladeless wind turbine that creates energy by leveraging sailboat technology. Forbes describes it saying: ”The sail channels the wind in a back and forth motion and then converts the kinetic energy into mechanical energy using pistons.”

All across the African continent, people struggle with getting electricity and even if they have access, the price is often high. This is due to the way the majority of electricity is created and distributed in Africa. With this new source of energy not only would the cost of energy generation go down continentally, but sources of energy would be more accessible for everyone thanks to its basic requirements.

For a country to survive it needs a stable source of food. With our growing population it will be necessary that every part of the world’s agricultural base is able to advance. Africa is currently at a pivotal point with its booming population, increasing urbanization, and abundance of high-growth economies producing the potential for the continent to drive global economic growth in this century. Advancement currently being made in tech will enable Africa to claim its fair share of the global market. Already, mobile money products ike Safaricom’s M-Pesa have produced new industries that are booming globally. Why can’t the same be done in African AgriTech?

If you’d like to learn more about techs role in the future of the African economy, read this article!