There is an ongoing push of investment and resources into the promotion of conservative agriculture and technology to majority of small holder farmers in African countries, if not all of them. As technology as demonstrated a significant role in the development of agricultural economies in the western world, African countries are still suffering to integrate technology into their agricultural system and farming. With the existence of a shrinking world that has become smaller and smaller by globalization and technological advancements, new technologies can be infused in African farming and agriculture at a very substantial rate. Integration of technology into Africa’s agriculture will no doubt produce several advantages such as economic growth and development. Through integration of new technologies, the African farmer will have the opportunity to a better process and produce that will compare with rest of the world.
All over the world farming and agricultural practices are dictated mainly by traditions, practices and systems that has existed in the region for generations but such practices have also face an evolutionary process that has improved farming for local farmers. The use of technology in Africa’s agricultural farming is not a new practice for the region’s farmer to adopt, it is merely a system that he must find appealing and acceptable for the betterment of his produce and output. The idea of incorporating technology and its effect on improving the local economies through effective and efficient farming in or around Africa seems to be clear and easily applicable. By avoiding integration of technology and newer and more productive practices, African farmers will instead be in a state of economic and productive stagnation, which will invariably increase poverty and lead to lose of jobs and higher unemployment rates. However, determining different ways to infuse newer technologies and practices into African farming is considered to be more complicated than it looks. “The problem is not always the farmer, it can be that the technology is no available to the farmers” says Brenda Brown of the school of agriculture at the University of Adelaide, Australia. A growing number of African countries and its farmers do not welcome influences from the outside or more advanced nations due to some political factors. Some of these farmers have the belief that bringing technology will lead to an increase in control and influences by the developed countries to be used as a way to take over their local farming business; which will create an avenue for exploitation. It is important to have the African farmer realize that integration of technology and adaptation of new practices will serve in their own benefit rather than against them.
Why would anyone think technology will work to their disadvantage? This is a question a lot of analysts ask when analyzing the African farmers. Is this due to a misunderstanding or lack of adequate education of the benefits that technology brings to agricultural farming when properly integrated. While one can argue that African political leaders and their governments have done very little to promote the use of technology by ordinary farmer who comprises a
majority of their agriculture sector, it is also important for the farmer themselves to possess a desire for the use of technology and newer farming techniques. Embracing technology can decrease the unemployment rate by creating more job opportunities in most African countries. In recent years the America and other developed nations have embraced the use of advanced technologies to significantly contribute to their agricultural market development and increase farming productivity, which most African countries and farmers can also benefit from. In a recent project done in Western Africa called e-Ghana, 1,000 new job opportunities were created from integrating new technology and farming practices. Ogemah Vitalis, an agro-industrial technology professor says, “Agriculture plays a key role in poverty alleviation especially for rural households in Africa”. Additionally, by integrating new technologies and practices, the African farmer will not only be able to create new avenues in process farming but explore territories in agriculture that weren’t previously available. One of the important reasons to incorporate new technology and embrace new practices is the availability of productive practices that already exists in the developed nations.
Is the African farmer even aware of the farming technologies and new practices that exists today or he has decided stick to his convectional farming system? The answer to that question continue is one that continue to elude most researchers of agricultural development in Africa. “When the farmers see the next technology, they are limited in their ability to adopt” says Bowman regarding a constraint in adopting new farming techniques. The small holder African farmer must open its mind to new technology and practices that has made farming outside of Africa great and prosperous. When I say, “small hold Farmer” I typically mean the farmer that farms for sustenance and local economic development, which most of Africa agricultural farmers tend to be. By embracing framing practice already existing in the developed world, the African farmers will have an opportunity to develop and share the same conditions as his fellow farmers in the developed world. However, stake holders and agriculture managers in government and local administrators must create ways that establishes a connection between African farmers and farmers in developed countries. One of such possible ways to create a connection is through globalization, which can be attained by embracing technology. Globalization for the African farmer can occur through communication channels, employing the use of computers, mobile telecommunication services, internet technology and other productive systems available. The process of connecting with farmers in the developed world will help African farmers learn new productive farming processes and share information in terms of managing processes. the process of Globalization will also help African farmers adjust to technology at a much faster pace.
If there was any doubt that having a welcoming mind to technology and embracing new farming practices, take a minute and understand the benefits of such actions by the African farmer. Take for example, one of the most rewarding and productive farming practices of the developed world; Conservation agriculture. By means of conservation agriculture the farmer can establish resource saving crop production that strives to achieve acceptable profits together with high levels of sustainable production while concurrently conserving his or her environment. Conservation will allow farmers use resources in a manner that safely maintain resources available to him and all of his community, especially land, water, sunlight, wind and other natural resources. The food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has determined that conservative agriculture technology will help farmers in practicing minimum soil disturbance which is essential in maintaining minerals within soil, stop erosion, and prevent water loss from occurring within soil. Take for instance the availability of computer systems and use of a farming software that can help a local farmer gather information about their crops, soil mineral and strength levels; with proper application, the farmer can analyze growth rates, take crop counts, analyze farming inputs against production outputs. Due to climate change and recent unstable weather partners, the farmer can adopt the use of solar technology that will help save and store energy from the sun for weather seasons when sun light is not readily available or even for use in areas where electricity in not available to most farmers.
There is not much difference between a typical African farmer and a farmer in the developing world, both in most cases possess a passion for farming and the knowledge of the importance of food to the farmer and members of his immediate family and community. Where one may see a difference is in how the farmer in the developed countries goes about the business of farming and agriculture as a whole. While the African farmer may see agricultural farming as a means of providing food on plates and feeding bellies, the farmer in the developed world see it as a business and tool for not just his community’s development but for his nations economic development. Adaptation of technology and new practices by African farmers should be thought out for economic development and growth, it is also important improving education. Regardless of formalities, educating the African farmer should and must be a priority to all African countries. As a matter of fact, education is a priority that African farmers need today to the next level and even lead them to the status of those farmers in the developed countries. Having better education will be of great benefit to the African farmer in many ways, such as improving understanding of technology, financial matters, weather patterns, even economic growth that will alleviate current poverty conditions. Government must task their local administrators with educating farmers on the possibilities that exists in farming today, while the farmer retains knowledge of farming, government and private enterprise must help the farmer propel his knowledge and understanding to the high levels that the farmer in the developed countries possess.
In order to see effective and productive change, one that encourages the embrace of technology and new practices in farming, been proven to improve production outputs, decrease inputs while remaining profitable; there must be a change in how the African farmer views agriculture. The Africa farmer must see farming as an evolving science, one that changes day after day. What farming has evolved into today is a process that is heavily mechanized and embraces use of technology. While African farmer may trust tradition and conventional farming that have served them and their communities for generations, his counterpart in the developed countries in America and Asia have increased its output and bettered his process by embracing technology and new practices. The African farmer must not just see beyond food production but on the whole lifecycle process that produces the food. Globalization by means of a smaller and more connected world now dictates that he starts to wonder what and how the farmers in the rest of the world perform this most integral part of agriculture. Through a change in attitude towards farming, African farmers can achieve unprecedented economic development and growth. However, it is really important to put a willingness to embrace technology and adaptation of new processes into consideration in order to take African farming to a level comparative to the rest of the developed world.
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