Precision Agriculture The Focus Of Soil Management Workshops In Sub Sahara Africa
Intertek, a leading provider of quality services to a wide range of industries around the world, has been providing a number of educational and practical workshops on soil management to small-scale farmers, farmer groups, and production companies in several countries in Sub Sahara Africa during 2015, according to BusinessWire.com.
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils and Intertek Agricultural Services has supported players in the agri-supply chain with expert knowledge on soil health and sustainable farming, as well as on crop management. Sub Sahara Africa is a region with strong agricultural potential and considerable future population growth. Therefore, it is a key area for Intertek’s pre-harvest, as well as post-harvest, agricultural services.
The focus of the workshops was to create awareness of the crucial importance of proper soil management. The risks of soil contamination and soil erosion were considered, as well as the correct use of fertilization to enhance soil productivity. In this respect, precision agriculture was put forward as a powerful tool to increase yields while developing responsible use of land and resources.
Also the monitoring of aflatoxins (moulds) in crops was addressed in the workshops. Aflatoxins are one of the key causes of post-harvest crop losses. Up to 20% of all agricultural commodities grown in Africa are lost in the post-harvest process. Awareness and management of crop quality by farmers is crucial to increase crop conservation and to mitigate losses of valuable harvests.
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Intertek Agricultural Services in Sub Sahara Africa provides both precision agriculture services, as well as crop quality management services. Precision agriculture enables improved farming practices, for smallholder and big farmers alike, by supporting better risk management and higher crop yields. The Intertek Crop Quality Management Toolkit affords farmers, as well as transporters, traders and storage holders, the equipment to correctly monitor crop condition.
These services are backed by the presence of the flagship Soil Laboratory of Intertek, based in Johannesburg. This laboratory is accredited ISO17025 for analysis of products from farm to fork.