Local financial advisory firm, DEAT Capital, is pushing for an agriculture-connected-future through embracing smart agriculture concepts in efforts to enhance food security against a growing global population.
This comes at a time the country is embarking on a slate of ambitious development plans through smart cities concept as they are increasingly important as a component of the global supply chain.
Over the last 50 years, the agriculture industry has undergone significant changes.
Farm equipment has grown in size, speed, and productivity as a result of technological advancements, allowing for more efficient cultivation of more land.
Speaking to Business Times ahead of the forthcoming Financing Smart Cities and Rural Connect Conference scheduled for June 30 in Harare, DEAT Capital MD Nicky Moyo said players in the agriculture sector must embrace connectivity as they are now in a new digital era.
“Agriculture which is one of the oldest industries must embrace a digital, connectivity-fuelled transformation in order to overcome increasing demand and several disruptive forces,” Moyo said.
“Now, agriculture is in the early days of yet another revolution, at the heart of which lie data and connectivity. Artificial intelligence, analytics, connected sensors, and other emerging technologies could further increase yields, improve the efficiency of water and other inputs, and build sustainability and resilience across crop cultivation and animal husbandry.”
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Shadreck Makombe told Business Times there is need for an uptake of digital tools in almost all farm processes to boost productivity. He said there were challenges.
“…The main challenges are the infrastructure it is not well leveraged we are talking of big data the cloud and the internet of things in terms of tracking monitoring, automating tracking and analysing operations. All these things we are very far away in their application. Another challenge is that we don’t have the trained manpower with the technical know-how on the application and implementation of such tools,” Makombe said.
The Zimbabwe National Farmers Union chairman Stewart Mubonderi said it is an uphill task to embrace digital tools as there is no adequate infrastructure that supports smart agriculture as it also requires a lot of money.
“This explains why we are still very far when it comes to smart agriculture we need things like online ordering of inputs, online payments, sensors that collect data about soil conditions, air, windy, temperature spraying, and e commerce all this require a high initial investment,” Mubonderi said.