Precision Agriculture for Africa’s Food Security
Around the world, food security ranks high up on the governments’ development agenda, writes Adhere Cavince on Standard Digital. In Kenya, the Jubilee administration has set out an ambitious plan to soar production of food crops such as maize, potato, and rice in order to cushion the population from hunger. The government aims to increase Kenya’s maize production from the current 40 million bags to 67 million by 2022.
To realize such enviable targets, Kenya will have to surmount a number of challenges facing the agriculture sector. Rising temperatures as a result of climate change has put a strain on crop productivity. Coupled with soil degradation that currently affects over 80% of African soils, new approaches to foster agricultural productivity in the country are required.
As a response, a multidisciplinary group of scientists drawn from Kenya, the United Kingdom, and Zambia are pushing for adoption of precision agriculture. With a focus on soil fertility monitoring to enhance knowledge driven small holder farming in Africa, the researchers are currently engaged in a project that seeks to develop soil fertility analyzers that can accurately measure macronutrients, PH, and moisture content.