The Science in Agriculture and How It's Solving the Hunger Problem in Africa

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Farming is probably the most popular career choice in Africa. In fact, almost half of the population of working Africans are working in the agriculture sector.

Unfortunately, poor structure, inadequate tools, and a lack of investment made Africa suffer from hunger. Based on the report of the African Child Policy Forum, famine caused nearly half of the child deaths in the continent.

But times seem to be changing, as new technologies were introduced to farming in Africa. And here is how it helped the small-scale farmers and could possibly help on eliminating hunger:

According to Kenneth A. Nelson, the chief operator of Acquahmeyer, the vegetables from Ghana are often rejected by European Union countries due to pesticide residues that are above the regulatory limits.

Because of this, the Acquahmeyer introduced a system of utilizing drones to monitor the crops. Through the camera attached to the aerial gadget, the farmers can assess their crops easier and use pesticides only on the part where it is needed.

The company started in June 2018, with two drones at their disposal. The rent is $5 to $10 per acre.

Since the popularity of this technology, pesticide use has dropped by 50%, making their crops meet EU countries' standards.

Now, the company owns 10 drones and is working with 8,000 farmers. And the demand is increasing. 

It is a common problem that urban development encounters the shrinkage of agricultural land. The same was observed in Uganda, and it is much worse because the levels of malnutrition are rising—same in Kampala.

For this reason, Diana Nambatya Nsubuga and her husband decided to convert their half-acre backyard to a small farm and called it Kwagala Farm in 2010. She said she started with a packet of tomato seeds worth 50 cents and eventually added other vegetables like cabbages, carrots, and spinach as they made a good income.

Eventually, they also added 10 chickens and two cows. To put cow dung on use, they installed a biogas plant that converts it to electricity. They also turned the waste from biogas, called bio-slurry, to organic fertilizer.

After years of endeavor, Kwagala Farm is now earning $60,000 annually, mostly profiting from fertilizers. She also has trained at least 1,800 people, who now own backyard farms.

Nsubuga wants to train 2,000 farmers by the end of 2020.

Babban Gona, a Nigerian-based social enterprise, offers financial assistance, training, and other support to small-scale farmers.

One of the members of Babban Gona is Esther Usman from Kudana State, Northwest Nigeria. She has been growing corn since she's 17 to support her family. Twenty years later, she was still struggling to secure her income. If pestilence happened, she could not even afford good pesticides. Storing after harvest is also a problem due to moisture, pests, or fungi that ruin her stock.

Babban Gona conducts field inspection. Through utilizing technology, they can evaluate the germination rate and the health of the crops. Then, they are advising farmers whenever problems occur.

After the harvest, Babban Gona stores it in a tight container and sell it in bulk immediately.

Some farmers have increased their yields by 50% and have earned more. As for Usman, she was able to purchase a cow, a grinding machine, new clothes, and even build a house. She is also investing in her children's education.

The cooperative initially has 102 farmers in 2012. Now, it has at least 20,000 members.