from SAVIOUS KWINIKA in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – DIGITAL tools can help farmers in Africa fight climate change. Nonetheless, they need more help from governments.
This is according to a new survey conducted by Savanta ComRes, commissioned by Vodacom.
It is based on sentiments of over 200 farmers across Egypt, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania.
They were asked how they feel about digitalising their farms, how they are handling different threats like environmental challenges, geopolitical and societal pressures, as well as supply chain issues, which have caused a rise in equipment and materials costs.
As expected, climate change is at the top of the list of threats facing farmers in Africa.
Nearly all farmers surveyed in Africa (93 percent) say climate change is affecting the financial viability of their farms.
And around half of African farmers say that they have been impacted to a great extent by climate change (45 percent).
This number rises to 62 percent in Tanzania and 52 percent in Kenya.
Other threats cited by farmers include low market prices for crops and livestock, increased operating costs and a lack of support from the public sector.
Results also show that the war in Ukraine is having an impact; creating concern among farmers around fuel and energy costs, as well as the availability of key agricultural resources.
Increased fuel and energy costs and availability of fertiliser are main worries.
“This is where technology can help,” surveyors stated.
The survey results highlight how digital technologies can help farmers manage with fewer resources and secure the future success of their operations.
Some 89 percent of respondents felt this way.
The use of digital agri-tools is already widespread.
The survey found that close to half of the farmers in Africa are already using digital tools to reduce water use and to improve soil health.
Farmers are willing to further invest in digital technology to help them combat issues like climate change.
While farmers are keen to invest in future digital technologies, adoption is not easy.
The cost of devices and other hardware is another prominent barrier for 48% of African farmers surveyed.
Access to reliable mobile connectivity and the cost of applications and software are other challenges.
Around half (55 percent) of surveyed farmers say their government is taking action to support them.
However, 87 percent want more government support.
– CAJ News