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November 30, 2023 BLOGEAGMARK NEWS0
. Recent research reports highlight the disparity between Africa’s agriculture and that of leading food-producing nations like the US, EU, Australia, and Asia.
. The way forward involves significant investments in research, infrastructure, improved data, and technology transfer to foster sustainable productivity to ensure Africa’s competitiveness in the global market.

The agricultural community in Africa is currently struggling with many challenges, including the need to increase production, reduce emissions, and adapt to adverse weather conditions. Compounding these challenges is a decline in government funding for the sector. Recent research reports highlight the disparity between Africa’s agriculture and that of leading food-producing nations like the US, EU, Australia, and Asia, especially in terms of climate funding.

A closer look at the situation in Kenya reveals that while the 2023 government budget suggests a commitment to the agricultural sector, the allocated 49.9 billion Kenya Shillings (about $ 33 million) in the 2023-2024 budget is meant to strengthen operations in research, product development, and processing capacity, which pales in comparison to its peers in the global sphere. Kenya’s investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) as a percentage of its agricultural GDP is notably lower. In contrast, countries like China and the European Union are making substantial investments in revitalizing farmland and supporting sustainable agriculture practices.

Addressing this funding gap is not just a matter of optimizing statistics; it is crucial for securing Africa’s position as a major player in agriculture. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlights the need for increased investments in clean agriculture and substantial government support for research and development to ensure competitiveness in the global market.

Historically, Africa has been a significant contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector. Let’s delve into the details:

To put it in the context of global emissions, GHG emissions reached nearly 50 gigatons of CO2-equivalents per year in 2016. The energy sector accounted for 73% of these emissions, while AFOLU contributed 18% (with agriculture making up 12% of that). Industrial processes and waste management activities constituted the remaining shares. In Africa, AFOLU sectors have historically dominated emissions. These sectors encompass the balance between carbon sequestration (through forests and savannas) and carbon release (due to agricultural practices, deforestation, fires, and forest degradation).

In Sub-Saharan Africa, AFOLU still represents the majority of emissions (56% in 2016, down from 71% in 1990). North Africa, on the other hand, maintains a small negative balance (more sequestration than emissions).

While Africa’s overall contribution to global emissions may be modest, targeted efforts in the AFOLU sector are crucial for sustainable development and climate resilience. There is untapped potential to reduce emissions through initiatives such as carbon offsets and no-till farming. Other mitigation strategies involve the introduction of modern practices such as agroforestry, climate-smart agriculture, and organic farming in agricultural projects. These approaches can lead to reduced CO2 and N2O emissions, contributing to overall GHG mitigation.

Challenges in Agricultural Innovation and the Path Forward

One significant hurdle in advancing agricultural practices in Africa is the lack of advanced soil measurement technology. Concerns include data gaps, modeling accuracy, addressing emerging scientific understandings of indirect emissions, and tackling carbon leakage in emission reduction efforts within agriculture. To address these issues, a comprehensive measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) system throughout the value chain is crucial. Currently, less than 5% of African farmland undergoes testing, primarily relying on traditional, laborious, expensive, and time-consuming methods in soil labs, limiting the speed of data acquisition and analysis.

The cost of cutting-edge technology, such as smart sensors and remote sensing via satellites or drones, poses a barrier to widespread adoption among farmers due to its hefty price tag. Access to accurate data is pivotal for innovation, and collaborative efforts between governments and tech firms are essential to ensuring affordable technology solutions, enhancing efficiency, and curbing environmental impact.

Coherent government policies are essential to streamline investments, encourage collaboration, and provide a clear path for climate-smart agriculture. This involves unified government strategies, inter-governmental collaboration, and evaluating fertilizer emissions through a voluntary and extensively consultative approach. The Fertilizer Emissions Reduction Strategy must focus on emissions intensity per unit of production rather than absolute reduction, recognizing the critical and often costly role of fertilizers for farmers.

Incentivizing innovation in farming, similar to incentives for electric vehicles, requires government intervention through co-investments in new technologies. Agriculture’s strategic focus in Africa’s industrial policy presents a global growth opportunity, given its significance to the economy, environment, and society. Africa, as a major agricultural exporter with US$661.4 billion in exports in 2022 and relationships with nearly all the global countries, holds key markets, including the United States, China, India, and the European Union nations.

Attracting new talent to the agriculture and food sectors in Africa necessitates building a 21st-century talent pipeline with a focus on digital and business skills. Elevating the profile of agriculture as a career choice for youth and individuals transitioning from declining industries requires new educational initiatives and collaboration with academic institutions.

Despite these hurdles, the African agricultural sector has the potential to lead in various areas. By adopting innovative methods like zero tillage, diverse crop rotations, and conservation tillage, countries like Kenya can rejuvenate their agriculture, reduce emissions, and increase yields. Introducing novel crop varieties and organic enhancements, along with investments in these areas, can further strengthen Africa’s position.

To achieve this, there is a need for unified government strategies, inter-governmental collaboration, and a focus on evaluating fertilizer emissions through a voluntary and consultative process. Incentivizing innovation, making agriculture a strategic focus in industrial policy, and attracting new talent through educational initiatives are also crucial steps forward.

The way forward involves significant investments in research, infrastructure, improved data, and technology transfer to foster sustainable productivity, ensure food security, and reduce environmental impacts. As global crises disrupt supply chains and countries face food shortages, prioritizing climate-smart agriculture is crucial. Implementing suitable policies will not only strengthen the economy but also alleviate geopolitical risks and accelerate emissions reductions.

Africa, with its favorable climate and soils, has the potential to emerge as a sustainable global food source, contributing to the challenges of food security, climate change, and sustainable development on a global scale.


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November 23, 2023 BLOG2

 

The relentless downpours this season have left a trail of destruction, with crops submerged and besieged by slugs, marking this November as Kenya’s wettest since the turn of the third decade of the millennium. Fields stand as testament to the deluge; some have already declared losses as seeds languish in waterlogged soil.

Most growers in most of the regions in Kenya have shared their plight. While some cereals managed to find their place in most fields, those sown in the final days of September and October wear a cloak of distress. Farmers anticipate that most of these belatedly planted crops may not give a good yield due to poor establishment. A perceptible shift towards the next cropping season and environmental fallow schemes is on the horizon.

Farmers reckon that currently the soils are saturated, and unless a substantial dry spell graces us, resuming field activities seems unlikely until next year, stressing the need for growers to temporarily shutter their field operations. Comparing this year’s rainy season to its predecessor, there is a significant financial toll as crops already in the ground succumb to the combined forces of rain, seed loss, fuel, herbicides, and labor.

Unprecedented challenges arise in the form of slugs, presenting an agricultural conundrum. Consolate, with over 40 years of farming and agronomy under her belt, admits that she has never seen anything like it. Entire fields of corn, vegetables and other crops succumb to the insatiable appetite of these slimy invaders.

Weed control becomes an additional headache for growers. Some crops, lacking the shelter of a herbicide program, face an uphill battle. Some managed an early pre-emergence herbicide application before the rains hit, but a considerable number did not. There is potential for application opportunities, albeit with a caveat: a subsequent spell of rain could exacerbate the stress on crops.

Sloping terrains introduce another set of concerns, with cautions against leaching and runoff risks, especially when applying herbicides or fertilizer, as chemicals may pollute water sources and aquifers. In areas where fields have been rendered impassable, growers need to utilize post-emergence sprays where necessary.

In extreme scenarios where weed control remains elusive, terminating crops with glyphosate applications can be an option since this minimizes the weed burden and aids the long-term crop rotation strategy.

READ: Understanding Carbon Credits and How They Can Be Harnessed In The African Agriculture

While there is an impediment of wet soils on root development and crop resilience, it is recommended that an early dry season-applied phosphorus spray or fertilizer be used. This, coupled with an easily metabolizable carbon source and amino acids, could foster rooting and provide crops with a much-needed energy boost. Shallow rooting resulting from the sodden rainy season becomes particularly problematic if a dry spring compounds the challenges, leading to potential drought issues.

As we grapple with the repercussions of this season’s inundation, echoes of similar challenges reverberate globally. The resilience of farmers and the adaptability of agricultural practices, especially in regions like Africa, become paramount. The lessons learned from tackling waterlogged soils can serve as a beacon of inspiration for creative integration into African agricultural systems, ensuring sustainable practices amidst unpredictable climates.

All said, the art of managing waterlogged soils demands a delicate balance of experience, innovation, and resilience. As the rains recede in the coming days, farmers face the daunting task of revitalizing fields, embracing lessons learned, and fortifying against future floods.


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November 23, 2023 BLOG0

 

Global warming, fueled by the greenhouse gas effect, poses a significant threat to our planet. Agriculture, contributing to about one-third of global GHG emissions, is both a culprit and a potential savior in this scenario.

Climate change is a consequence of the greenhouse gas (GHG) effect, resulting from the release of GHGs like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). These gases trap sunlight within the atmosphere, causing an increase in temperature. The greater the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere, the more elevated the temperature becomes. Primary sources of GHG emissions stem from various human activities, including electricity and heat production, transportation, agriculture, and alterations in land use. It is estimated that agri-food systems contribute approximately one-third of the total global GHG emissions.

Addressing climate change is especially crucial for countries with lower-middle and low incomes, where agriculture contributes a larger proportion to overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to wealthier nations. A study published in 2020 shows that in low-income countries, agriculture is responsible for 48% of total emissions, whereas in high-income countries, it constitutes 7%. Additionally, research study published in 2023 in the American Association Journal has shown that implementing measures to reduce GHG emissions can be economically viable in middle- and low-income countries. Despite agriculture being a significant source of GHG emissions, it also holds a critical role in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Understanding Carbon Credits and their Global Impact

To reverse the effects of climate change, the spotlight has now shifted to carbon credits, a mechanism designed to reward those who actively reduce emissions or sequester carbon. This concept forms the backbone of carbon markets, which are either compliance markets regulated by governments or voluntary carbon markets (VCM), where participation is voluntary.

This revolutionary concept has taken center stage in agriculture, promising not only to combat climate change but also to reinforce the financial standing of farmers.

In the intricate web of climate change mitigation, agriculture emerges as a player rather than just a contributor. Farmers, who often bear the brunt of climate change impacts, can now be at the forefront of positive change. By adopting sustainable practices, they can generate carbon credits, a quantifiable unit representing a reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). This reduction is achieved by implementing eco-friendly practices, such as avoiding the traditional burning of agricultural residues.

In the heart of this transformative movement lies Africa, where the potential for farmers to enter the carbon credit market is a game-changer. The unique socio-economic landscape of the continent, combined with the growing awareness of climate issues, positions African farmers as key players in this global sustainability movement.

READ: The Controversy and Potential of CDR Technologies

The Process of Carbon Credit Generation

Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions involves implementing policies that fall into two main categories: regulations and incentives. Carbon markets, which put a price tag on carbon emissions, are built on these foundations, and there are two types: compliance markets, regulated by governments or international agencies, and voluntary carbon markets (VCM), which offer incentives for emission reduction. Unlike compliance markets, participation in VCM is voluntary, where individuals, companies, or governments trade carbon credits generated from activities like agriculture.

The journey begins with project developers conceptualizing and designing projects tailored to specific carbon offset programs. In Africa, startups and established companies alike are spearheading initiatives, assisting farmers in implementing sustainable agricultural practices. The resulting emissions reduction is validated and verified by third-party bodies, ensuring the credibility of the process.

Recognizing the potential of carbon markets, some governments across the globe are gearing up to launch their own carbon market. The core of these markets lies in carbon credits, where entities can earn financial rewards for reducing emissions below a specified baseline. The reduction is measured in carbon credits, each equivalent to one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), a unit considering the warming potential of CO2, CH4, and N2O.

Consider a scenario where a carbon company or an NGO persuades farmers not to burn crop residue. They propose a plan that if the farmers abstain from burning, they will receive a specified amount of money after verification. The farmer agrees, refrains from burning, and achieves a reduction of 1.5 tonnes of CO2e per hectare compared to the previous season. This reduction translates to the generation of 1.5 carbon credits per hectare, with each credit valued at US$10 in the market. According to the agreement, 60% of the revenue reaches the farmers, resulting in an estimated amount of approximately 1,400 Kenya Shillings per hectare.

Importantly, the disbursal of funds is contingent on a third-party verifier confirming that the farmer has indeed refrained from burning residues, and that the calculations are accurate. This approach not only provides financial incentives for farmers to adopt sustainable practices but also contributes to climate change mitigation. The involvement of a third-party verifier ensures the process’s integrity and credibility, providing assurance to all stakeholders.

Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Companies as Catalysts

A global shift driven by changing consumer preferences and Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) has placed Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies at the forefront of the carbon credit market. As these companies strive to meet their environmental commitments, they increasingly rely on purchasing carbon credits from farmers, creating a new revenue stream for agricultural communities.

The narrative extends beyond Africa, echoing similar tales from across the globe. Agriculture is evolving into a sector where sustainability is not just an option but a necessity. The collaboration between farmers, CPG companies, and global sustainability initiatives showcases the transformative power of agriculture. Each farmer becomes a key stakeholder in the battle against climate change, simultaneously contributing to a more sustainable and prosperous tomorrow.


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The story of genomics in commercial agriculture resonates with transformation, one where cutting-edge technology intersects with the age-old practice of farming. With the arrival of microarray and next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, agriculture is being revolutionized at another level never witnessed before in the history of the industry. These innovations have become the bedrock of modern farming and breeding practices, offering a glimpse into the future of agriculture.

At the center of this revolution lies the concept of genomic selection and trait screening. Gone are the days of relying solely on physical traits to guide breeding choices. Today, genetic markers are the torchbearers, leading the world toward a new era of selective breeding. These markers are linked to specific values and traits, allowing scientists to screen vast numbers of plants and animals and identify those with the desired characteristics. It’s an ideal solution for traits that are complex, multigenic, and challenging to manage using traditional methods. This technique has not only improved breeding efficiency but also enhanced the precision of trait selections.

The shift towards genomics has resonated with dairy cattle farmers, where genomic testing is rewriting the rules of the game. Cattle farmers around the world have been on record attesting to the power of genotyping, with different experiences that speak of doubled production, longer-lasting cows, and the promising future benefits that genotyping technology offers.

Genomics is also being used to tackle nutritional and environmental challenges, bringing about a transformation in bovine assessment. These efforts strengthen cattle herds and address the challenges of modern livestock farming.

Crop breeding hasn’t been left behind by genomics, and the technology of marker-assisted backcrossing has gained a great deal of prominence in the industry. At advanced levels, the technique, which involves the use of microarrays and NGS, allows researchers to swiftly transmit a single trait of interest from a donor parent to the progeny. This results in a significant reduction in the time required to release commercially viable plant lines or breeding stock. This innovation has paved the way for breakthroughs in crop development, changing the food supply chain on a global scale.

READ: The Rise of Biological Solutions in Sustainable Agriculture

In countries like Brazil, which is the world’s second-largest beef producer and largest beef exporter, genomic selection is being applied in cattle breeding. The technology has greatly improved the breeding of zebu cattle in the country while simultaneously reducing the environmental impact. Other countries are now emulating the same as they seek to meet the growing demands of a burgeoning global population.

Genomics also has the potential to offer a lifeline for the biosecurity of animal populations, with companies having developed genotyping platforms that provide the needed speed, reliability, and scalability for animal identity verification and parentage testing, especially for large-scale producers.

The rise of new infectious diseases among animal populations has prompted a reevaluation of diagnostic tools. Next-generation sequencing has emerged as a game-changer in the field of metagenomics, enabling rapid detection of infectious agents and tracking disease outbreaks. As the world faces evolving health challenges, genomics provides a dynamic and essential solution for safeguarding animal populations.

In cases where single markers may not yield conclusive results, multiple genetic markers come to the rescue. These markers are crucial in identifying animals and determining parentage, particularly in linebreeding situations. It’s a harmonious blend of science and tradition, ensuring the lineage of each animal.

But genomics doesn’t stop at the farm gate. Environmental DNA (eDNA) sequencing is emerging as a vital tool for studying biodiversity without disrupting ecosystems. From biodiversity surveys to ballast water testing, genomics has the potential to transform our understanding of the environment.

Genomics is also at the center of the production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), playing a major role in the molecular characterization of organisms. The efficiency and consistency of NGS have made it the go-to method for event selection and regulatory approval. This transformation has not only benefited the agricultural sector but has also ensured safety and compliance with industry standards and ethics.

Soil metagenomics is another exciting frontier. By understanding and characterizing soil microbial communities, scientists can now optimize land management, crop rotation, and the use of pesticides and fertilizers. It’s a soil-to-plate journey where genomics plays a central role in ensuring the health of crops.

In the grand tapestry of agriculture, genomics is the thread that weaves tradition with innovation and science with practice. As the world embraces this new age of agriculture, we must remember that our roots are firmly planted in the soil, but our eyes are set on the future, guided by the light of new innovations such as genomics.


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The heart of our collective efforts revolves around the workforce that accomplishes the tasks and success is unattainable without the individuals who tirelessly labor, day in and day out. The agricultural sector faces its own distinctive workforce challenges, which include a scarcity of applicants, demanding working conditions, and fierce competition for labor.

While technology isn’t a magic solution, recent advancements offer potential relief from the labor-related burdens that farmers are grappling with. Beyond automating manual tasks and addressing hiring gaps, technology can create a safer and more efficient work environment, which can, in turn, enhance recruitment and staff retention.

For a long time now, agriculture has faced a plethora of challenges, but one issue consistently stands out as a top concern: labor. While other challenges, like government regulations and climate change, have surfaced over the years, labor remains the primary concern. It has become evident that mechanization is the only viable solution for sustaining production worldwide.

However, there is perhaps undue optimism about the speed of mechanization adoption. The development of technology is a gradual process, akin to constructing a skyscraper one story at a time. It’s not characterized by sudden breakthroughs but rather incremental progress. Failures are common in the realm of invention, and the disappointment in the slow progress of robotics can be attributed to the nature of technological development.

The agriculture industry faces the perennial challenge of attracting and retaining labor. However, the younger generation entering the workforce is discovering appealing and innovative opportunities in agriculture, largely thanks to ag tech. This technology is instrumental in attracting young individuals to an industry that is both exciting and purpose-driven.

Young people with a passion for technology see agriculture as a means to make a positive impact on the world. Agriculture is no longer at odds with sustainability; in fact, it leads the way in promoting it. To attract and retain talent, the industry needs to better convey its critical mission and the opportunities it offers for personal and financial growth.

Also, agriculture is one of the few professions with a steady demand for its products. People may choose how to spend their money, but they can’t choose whether or not to eat. This aspect, coupled with opportunities for travel within major agricultural companies, makes agriculture an attractive career option for young professionals.

The rapid transformation of the agriculture industry, driven by technological advancements, demands a different kind of workforce. It requires expertise in satellite technology and data science, placing agriculture in direct competition with tech giants like Google and Microsoft for talent. While those with a background in agriculture may be more inclined to pursue careers in the industry, there is a need to attract non-traditional candidates, including women, who are underrepresented.

Ag tech not only has a “cool factor” but also aligns with the values of the younger generation. It allows them to make a tangible impact on global issues like food security and sustainability. The ability to work remotely and enjoy a better work-life balance adds to the appeal of ag tech careers. These roles offer uncapped career potential and do not require prior agricultural experience.

Universities and technical schools are now offering specialized programs in ag tech, equipping young individuals with the skills and knowledge to excel in the field. This educational support further enhances the attractiveness of ag tech careers. The combination of technological innovation, sustainability objectives, diverse career paths, and success stories within the agriculture industry is drawing more young talent to explore the possibilities that ag tech has to offer.


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October 14, 2023 BLOGEAGMARK NEWS0

 

In an era where health-conscious consumers increasingly seek healthier and sustainable food options, trust in the food system is paramount. Transparency, as revealed by numerous studies, is the cornerstone of this trust and transformation in the agri-food industry. The latest EIT Food Trust Report from 2021 hints at growing consumer awareness, but it also emphasizes that there is more work to be done. Consumers desire clarity regarding the criteria for food products and increased supply chain transparency.

We’ve been witnessing the evolution of consumer preferences and industry dynamics. The need for transparency has never been more apparent, and digital technology is emerging as a vital solution. Digital innovations have made it possible to track, trace, and document the journey of food items through the supply chain, enhancing trust and security in the food we consume.

While trust in the food system has shown some positive growth, there is still much work to be done. Consumers are not only looking for companies to adapt to their needs but also for greater transparency in the food supply chain.

The agri-food industry faces the challenge of producing for a global market while ensuring the integrity and trust of consumers. In the age of complex and extensive supply chains, maintaining visibility throughout the journey of food products has become essential. This visibility is vital in reducing the risks of foodborne illnesses like E. coli, listeria, and salmonella.

READ: Biobanking Initiative to Preserve African Indigenous Chicken

The adoption of traceability technology has emerged as a fundamental solution to this challenge. By using this technology, companies can precisely identify the source, location, and ownership of food products as they traverse the supply chain. This enables them to effectively track and trace potentially contaminated items, ensuring the safety and quality of their products.

Here are four compelling reasons why traceability is pivotal for food and retail companies:

  1. Enhancing Supply Chain Visibility and Efficiency: The days when local farmers and markets were trusted by small communities are long gone. In today’s globalized world, food companies cater to mass markets, making supply chains more intricate. This complexity brings risks of food-borne illnesses. Traceability technology empowers companies to identify the source, location, and ownership of food products, making it easier to track and trace contaminated items, thus ensuring the safety and quality of products.
  2. Ensuring Transparency with Consumers: With concerns about food safety and the increasing desire for certified product origin, traceability has emerged as a guardian of customer confidence. This technology allows companies to transparently share information about the origin of food products with consumers, enabling them to make informed decisions. Whether it’s information about health and sustainability, food safety, or product authenticity, traceability technology equips customers with the evidence needed to trust the food they purchase.
  3. Boosting Company Reputation and Compliance: Companies that embrace traceability can not only enhance their reputation but also communicate their commitment to sustainability, ethical sourcing, and responsible production practices. In today’s market, this commitment can be a competitive advantage. Moreover, as governments worldwide tighten regulations to ensure food safety, traceability is crucial for compliance. Accurate records of product origins and movements demonstrate a company’s commitment to adhering to regulations and avoiding costly fines and legal repercussions.
  4. Risk Management and Consumer Protection: Traceability is a valuable tool for managing risks in the food industry. It enables companies to quickly pinpoint affected batches in the event of a food safety issue or product recall. This minimizes the scope of the problem and protects consumers from potentially harmful products, ensuring that food products meet safety and quality standards and reducing the risk of liability.

The integration of technology and innovation has revolutionized food traceability, with comprehensive systems that provide a detailed view of a product’s lifecycle, from planting or harvesting to the end consumer. Information on production stages, farming locations, inputs, processes, and quality controls is readily available, ensuring product safety and quality. To further empower consumers, farmers and retailers can generate QR codes, allowing customers to access traceability data with a simple scan. This not only enhances consumer knowledge but also fosters trust by providing information on production efforts, safety compliance, and pesticide usage reports, therefore providing consumers with the transparency and confidence they seek when choosing food products.


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September 17, 2023 BLOGEAGMARK NEWS0

 

The pressing issue of soil degradation is reverberating across the globe, casting a shadow on the future of agriculture. Recent assessments by international bodies, including the European Commission Joint Research Centre – European Soil Data Centre, have sounded alarm bells. The consensus is clear: our soils, especially those dedicated to agriculture, are facing unprecedented stress. The situation is compounded by urbanization, infrastructure development, erosion, pollution, poor nutrient management, and the loss of organic matter. In Africa, where agriculture is the backbone of many economies, this crisis poses a dire threat. To understand the gravity of this challenge, we must draw upon past experiences in the African agriculture industry.

Past Stories from Kenya and Africa

In Kenya and throughout Africa, the story of soil degradation has been unfolding for years. Rapid urbanization, driven by population growth and the demand for infrastructure, has led to the conversion of valuable agricultural land into concrete jungles. This trend mirrors the global phenomenon mentioned in the European Commission’s assessment.

Erosion and organic matter loss have plagued African soils, impacting crop yields and farmer livelihoods. Kenya, for instance, has faced severe challenges with soil erosion, particularly in its hilly terrains. The implications for food security are evident, as erosion leaves behind infertile, rocky landscapes where productive agriculture once thrived.

Moreover, climate change exacerbates these woes. Rising temperatures lead to higher mineralization rates, accelerating the breakdown of soil organic matter. The result is less resilient and infertile soil, making crops more susceptible to drought—a phenomenon affecting many African regions.

The Road to Redemption

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations warning that the world’s topsoil could vanish within 60 years is a chilling reminder of the urgency we face. The African agriculture industry, along with regulatory bodies, non-governmental organizations, and growers, must unite to tackle these challenges.

Technology emerges as a key ally in this battle. The journey to soil health involves sustainable land management, technical innovations, and heightened awareness. Drawing from previous success stories and lessons, the African agriculture sector must leverage technology to avert disaster.

Defining Soil Health – Before delving into technology’s role, let’s define “soil health.” It is the soil’s capacity to sustain a thriving ecosystem that supports plants, animals, and people. This concept goes beyond traditional approaches and delves into the intricate world of soil microbiomes.

The Four Pillars of Soil Health are:

  1. Vegetative Cover: Keeping the soil covered with vegetation.
  2. Plant Biodiversity: Encouraging a variety of plant species.
  3. Living Root Systems: Ensuring a live root system throughout the season.
  4. Minimizing Soil Disturbance: Reducing human-induced soil disruption.

These pillars lay the foundation for soil health and play a pivotal role in fostering agricultural sustainability.

Technology’s Role in Soil Health

Technology serves as a bridge to improving soil health on a larger scale. Making soil data accessible and understandable is vital for prompt action. Currently, there are innovations for agro testing that are being developed to help farmers measure, manage, and improve soil health efficiently. Crop input manufacturers are also stepping up, introducing products that optimize food production while enhancing soil health.

Changing Attitudes and Mindsets

The first step toward preserving soil health is acknowledging the issue. The widespread recognition of soil degradation’s severity in the last decade has driven action across the industry. Crop input providers are developing solutions that are kinder to soils, aligning with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

In this battle, technology plays a significant role. Companies like Biome Makers are pioneering tools to revolutionize how farmers interact with soil. By processing vast data inputs and employing genomics and artificial intelligence, they identify microbial biomarkers, offering insights into soil function.

We must keep in mind that soil is a living ecosystem, and its health is paramount to food security and environmental sustainability. While challenges persist, the African agriculture industry must remain resilient and resourceful.

Soil By the Numbers

  • A tablespoon of soil teems with more organisms than there are people on Earth.
  • It takes a minimum of 500 years to form one inch of topsoil.
  • One gram of soil hosts 5,000 different types of bacteria.
  • Only 0.01% of the Earth’s water is held in soil.

The battle to safeguard our soil is a race against time. Failure to act now will have far-reaching consequences, but with determination and innovation, we can nurture the very foundation of our sustenance – the soil.


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In recent years, Kenya’s tech startup scene has garnered substantial attention and investment, with hopes of realizing the Silicon Savannah dream. However, beneath the surface, there are unsettling signs of distress, as at least eight Kenyan-born tech startups have shuttered their doors in the past two years, while a ninth appears to be teetering on the brink despite substantial investor funding. We delve into the challenges faced by these startups and seek to shed light on why they may be heading towards what some have termed a “sinking ship.”

The Startup Saga

A comprehensive analysis by the Business Daily published on September 11, 2023, reveals a grim picture: eight startups, fueled by a total investment of over Ksh.11.2 billion, have crumbled in the face of adversity. The situation becomes even more concerning when we examine the case of Twiga Foods, an agri-tech firm that has raised an astounding Ksh.23.4 billion (USD 157.1 million) in venture capital. Recently, Twiga Foods announced plans to trim its workforce by a third, citing a harsh funding climate.

As quoted by the newsroom, Twiga’s CEO, Peter Njonjo, lamented the funding drought that has enveloped the market, despite the company’s impressive cumulative funding of $160 million since its inception in 2013. This raises an important question: Are funding challenges the sole culprits behind the demise of these startups?

Beyond Funding Drought

While many startups point fingers at the funding drought, a closer look at available data and resounding sentiments from previous interviews with founders suggests a more nuanced narrative. It appears that factors beyond funding may be contributing to the ‘sinking ship’ phenomenon.

One of the reasons is business viability. Some startups may have struggled due to questions surrounding the viability of their business models. It is essential for these companies to offer unique solutions that address tangible problems in the market. Without a solid foundation for providing value, even the most significant investment can’t guarantee success.

Secondly, the ‘short-term vision’ effect is another reason, as some entrepreneurs may be too focused on building businesses for valuation and hoping for buyouts. Without continuous innovation and operational models that keep changing with the tech landscape and trends, it is almost impossible for any business to thrive in today’s tech-driven world. It essentially boils down to sustainability and long-term planning, as well as a deep understanding of market dynamics, which are crucial for survival.

Existing Support System

The success of any business is directly proportional to the business ecosystem in which it operates. A perfect example is what is currently happening between China and Apple Inc., which has resulted in a loss of an estimated $30 billion for the company—a story for another day.

The existing support system and business environment play a crucial role in the success or failure of businesses, especially startups. Recent developments, including the introduction of new taxations and low interest rates, have added to the challenges faced by these young businesses. While taxes are necessary to fund public services and infrastructure, excessive or poorly designed taxes can burden startups, making it difficult for them to grow and thrive.

One would say that the current tax systems have created a financial burden and strain on startups, limiting their financial resources and making it challenging to invest in growth and innovation. Investors may have also been spooked by the new stringent fiscal policy moves by the government, as well as low interest rates, and potentially this may have had a dipping effect on the flow of capital into the startup ecosystem, increasing investors’ appetite in other emerging markets.

Despite Kenya’s President being a vocal advocate for the nation’s ambition to become Africa’s ICT hub, the recent setbacks in the startup ecosystem call for a reevaluation of the Silicon Savannah dream. While ambitions are high, the practical challenges faced by startups demand a more comprehensive approach to fostering innovation.

The Collateral Damage

Several startups, including Sendy, Gearbox, Zumi, SkyGarden, Notify Logistics, Kune, BRCK, and WeFarm, have succumbed to these challenges. These entities collectively raised substantial sums of money before their unfortunate closure. Sendy, for instance, secured $26.5 million in funding before it had to make significant cutbacks.

Despite the challenges, some entrepreneurs are still bullish and are hoping to regain solid footing in the market by curving a path forward through cost-cutting strategies. The troubles facing Kenyan agricultural and other startups are likely not ending soon based on the statistics and trends, underscoring the need for a holistic approach that combines visionary leadership, sustainable business models, and robust long-term planning. Kenya’s Silicon Savannah dream may still be within reach, but it will require careful navigation through the turbulent waters of the tech startup world. Only then can the nation’s ambition to uplift livelihoods through technology and innovation gain the impetus it deserves.


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In recent times, Kenya’s agriculture sector has been grappling with a significant hurdle: the increase of interest rates for agricultural loans over the past years. According to Trading Economics, interest rates for agricultural loans in Kenya have spiked in the past year, which is the fastest increase since the early 1980s. This abrupt increase marks the fastest surge in the past decade, making it crucial to dissect its implications, especially for the least-profitable farmers who are bearing the brunt of this situation.

The sudden surge in interest rates has sent ripples of concern through Kenya’s agricultural landscape. and it poses a formidable challenge for farmers across the country.

The most vulnerable group affected by the doubled interest rates are the least-profitable farmers. These farmers, who are already struggling to maintain their profitability, are now grappling with increased interest expenses that are taking a toll on their financial stability. This impact is deeply felt due to the higher debt levels per acre that these farmers typically carry, resulting in more significant annual interest payments per acre.

To navigating the financial landscape, all agricultural producers, regardless of their profitability and existing debt levels, are advised to brace themselves for elevated interest rates. Incorporating higher interest expenses into cash flow projections is a prudent step to take. The reality is that the historically low and stable interest rates that once benefited producer cash flows previously are no longer sustainable.

The financial vulnerability of the least-profitable farmers is further accentuated by their higher liabilities per crop acre farmed. This leaves them significantly more sensitive to rate increases. As interest rates climb, their interest costs per acre surge, placing even more strain on their already fragile cash flows and reducing overall profits.

Over the past decade, the gap between Kenya’s least-profitable growers and their more prosperous counterparts has been steadily widening. Since 2022, price increases have disproportionately affected the least-profitable producers. These farmers are less likely to benefit from bulk discounts, have limited working capital, and carry a heavy burden of debt.

Agriculture has also been hit by the relentless climb in farm production expenses. Since 2019, expenses have risen consistently, with sharp spikes observed in 2022 and the current year, underscoring the challenges that farmers face in managing their operational costs.

Looking Ahead: A Mixed Forecast

It is projected that the interest rate will be 10.50 percent by the end of the third quarter of 2023. While expenses are projected to decrease in the months ahead, this is juxtaposed with a decline in net farm income. This vital metric of profitability is expected to drop by a significant rate, signaling continued challenges for farmers as they strive to navigate the changing financial landscape.

The CEO of Eagmark and an expert in agricultural economics, Mr. Bonnie Oduor encourages farmers to stay informed, seek financial guidance, and explore innovative strategies to ensure the resilience and sustainability of Kenya’s agriculture sector amidst these challenging times.


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July 27, 2023 AGRI ECONOMICSBLOG0

Kenya’s economy has been on a roller coaster in recent years, recovering from multiple crises since 2013. In 2022, GDP growth softened to 4.8% from the previous year’s strong rebound of 7.5%, but remained in line with the country’s long-term growth trajectory according to a report by the World Bank.

The service sector was a key driver of growth, contributing around 80% of the increase in total GDP. The financial services, tourism, and transport sectors performed particularly well, helping Kenya’s GDP growth to outpace that of Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.

However, despite strong headline GDP growth, Kenya has continuously faced significant inflationary pressures amid commodity price volatility and tightening global financing conditions. The country’s exchange rate and foreign exchange reserves have been under pressure, exacerbated by the worst drought in four decades.

To address these challenges, macroeconomic policies were implemented in 2022, including greater exchange rate flexibility, fiscal consolidation, and a tighter monetary policy. Fiscal consolidation efforts, aimed at addressing mounting debt sustainability challenges, continued in 2022, contributing to the reduction of external and domestic imbalances.

The 2023 medium-term growth outlook for Kenya remains positive, with the economy expected to grow at around 5% in line with its pre-pandemic trend and estimated potential GDP growth rate. Real per capita incomes are projected to grow at approximately 3% in the medium term, and there are positive signs of poverty resuming its pre-pandemic downward trend.

However, the economic outlook is not without risks. Externally, Kenya is exposed to potential weaker growth in Europe, elevated global commodity prices that can increase the country’s import bill and inflation, and further tightening of financial conditions in advanced economies. Domestically, spending pressures to reduce the high cost of living and potential slowdowns in tax revenue collection pose additional challenges.

The intensifying global food crisis is taking a toll on Kenya’s economy, contributing to the surge in food price inflation both locally and internationally. This trend has been further exacerbated by the post-pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war-related shocks and trade frictions.

Kenyan supermarkets and food traders have raised prices of basic commodities due to increased taxes, shortages of essential items and increased costs of energy. Farmers are also feeling the pressure, grappling with unpredictable weather patterns, high input costs, and labor shortages. Many have been forced to exit the industry, which may lead to a drop in production this year.

The Kenyan government faces the daunting task of stabilizing the economy and mitigating the impact of rising food prices. The Finance Bill, 2023, has been passed to expand the tax base and raise revenues to meet the government’s ambitious budget for 2023/2024. However, critics argue that short-term reforms may not be enough to address the deeper complexities of Kenya’s food system and economic challenges.

As Kenya’s economy faces a myriad of challenges, concerns are rising about the possibility of stagflation. This dreaded economic condition is characterized by high inflation and low economic growth, and it can lead to a host of problems, including increased poverty, unemployment, and political instability.

There are a number of factors that could potentially push Kenya towards stagflation, with the most significant being the ongoing global food crisis, which was triggered by post-pandemic shocks and the war in Ukraine. Both factors have greatly contributed to the soaring global food prices, putting immense strain on Kenyan consumers and businesses alike. As a nation heavily reliant on food imports, Kenya has been particularly vulnerable to the ripple effects of these crises.

Not to mention the severe drought that has been experienced in some parts of the country, which has hampered agricultural production and led to food scarcity, driving up food prices further. For a nation where a significant portion of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihoods, the drought’s impact has been deeply felt, threatening both the economy and people’s well-being.

Kenya’s large fiscal deficit has also been a major contributing issue, resulting to increased international borrowing and inflationary pressures due to the government’s revenue shortfall compared to its expenditures. The mounting fiscal deficit has put immense pressure on the country’s currency, making it challenging to control inflation effectively.

The risk of stagflation is imminent for Kenya and the consequences could be devastating if no practical and impactful short-term and long-term economic reforms and policies are implemented. The already fragile economy could witness a decline in living standards as prices rise while economic growth stagnates. The country is already facing a surge in unemployment as businesses struggle to cope with rising costs, and this has led to job losses and increased hardship for many citizens. Stagflation has the potential to fuel political unrest, already being witnessed in Kenya by the anti-government demonstrations as people become frustrated with the government’s inability to address the economic challenges effectively.

While Kenya has not yet entered stagflation, it is crucial for the government to take immediate and proactive measures to avert such a scenario. Addressing the challenges of the rising global food crisis and the drought requires targeted support for the agricultural sector. Increasing food production and stabilizing prices can alleviate the pressure on the overall economy.

To tackle the fiscal deficit, the government must find ways to reduce spending responsibly. By prioritizing critical investments and optimizing public expenditures, it can gradually narrow the deficit and avoid further inflationary pressures.

By carefully managing interest rates, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) can help temper inflation while ensuring that the economy retains a conducive environment for growth.

The risk of stagflation is a serious one for Kenya, but it is not inevitable. The nation’s vulnerability to external and internal shocks necessitates comprehensive and multi-faceted approach, as well as proactive and decisive action to address the root causes of the country’s economic challenges, including inflation, food shortages, and high production costs. The government must work in unison with stakeholders to address the root causes of these challenges, ensure food security, and pursue prudent fiscal and monetary policies.

Being an agricultural powerhouse in the region, Kenya has a significant role to play in global efforts to decarbonize economies, while ensuring an inclusive approach that supports both development and productivity growth. By taking urgent steps to bolster the economy’s resilience, Kenya can navigate through these challenging times and secure a more stable and prosperous future for its people and agricultural sector.


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July 24, 2023 AGRO BIOLOGICALBLOG0

In recent years, the agriculture business has seen a paradigm shift toward more sustainable practices, fueled by growing consumer awareness and global problems such as climate change and food security. Biological solutions, which have gained importance due to their favorable impact on agribusiness, are one of the major pillars of sustainable agriculture. This article examines the expansion of the Brazilian biological market and the global acceptance of sustainable farming technologies, with a focus on precision agriculture, organic farming, and regenerative agriculture.

The Shift to Sustainable Farming Practices

As sustainable agricultural practices gain acceptance, the global agriculture business is undergoing a transformation. Consumers are demanding items developed utilizing biological solutions and sustainable ways as they become more cognizant of the environmental and social effect of their food choices. To meet market needs and keep their competitive edge, agribusinesses are adopting sustainable practices.

Precision agriculture, with its application of cutting-edge technologies such as drones, sensors, and data analytics to enhance crop output, is one of the top sustainable agricultural approaches. Precision agriculture decreases environmental impact while increasing efficiency by reducing the usage of fertilizers, pesticides, and water. This method not only addresses customer demand for sustainable products, but it also improves agricultural systems’ resilience and productivity.

Organic farming, which focuses on natural inputs and biological pest control, addresses the growing demand for organic products while also improving environmental sustainability and biodiversity.

Regenerative agriculture is a forward-thinking method that strives to restore and improve soil health, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. Cover cropping, crop rotation, and conservation tillage are all practices that improve soil fertility, minimize erosion, and trap carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This strategy benefits not only the environment but also the resilience and productivity of agricultural systems.

The convergence of technology and sustainable agriculture is becoming more common. Vertical farming, hydroponics, and aquaponics are examples of innovations that permit year-round crop production with little water and land requirements. These technologies enable urban farming and localized food production while decreasing the carbon impact of long-distance food transportation.

Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Opportunities

While applying sustainable practices may necessitate early investments and changes to traditional agricultural methods, it also provides opportunity for agribusinesses to differentiate themselves in the market and reach new consumer segments. Governments and organizations are encouraging the adoption of sustainable agriculture methods by offering incentives, certifications, and research money.

Global Adoption and Partnerships

Beyond the thriving biological sector, the global agriculture business is embracing biologicals’ transformative promise. Educating growers, forming alliances, and refining product formulations are all key elements in the shift to a biologics-based society.

As the agricultural business recognizes the importance of sustainable practices, biologicals have emerged as a critical component of positive transformation. The world’s brisk biological market expansion demonstrates the possibility for wider worldwide adoption. Agribusinesses can meet consumer needs, boost competitiveness, and contribute to a more sustainable future by implementing precision agriculture, organic farming, and regenerative agriculture. The move to sustainable agriculture gives enormous prospects for a healthy and resilient agricultural industry, with technology and partnerships supporting these efforts.


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In a groundbreaking leap forward for the agriculture industry, renowned tractor manufacturer John Deere has unveiled its latest innovation – the fully autonomous tractor. This cutting-edge technology not only promises increased efficiency and productivity but also represents a significant step towards the future of autonomous farming.

Unlike mere concepts, John Deere’s autonomous tractor is a reality. It brings everything farmers love about the reliable 8R tractor but with the added option of running it with or without an operator. This revolutionary development opens up new possibilities for farmers, allowing them to delegate certain tasks to the tractor while they focus on other crucial aspects of their operations.

So, how close are farmers to embracing this new autonomous era? Surprisingly close, it seems. For those already using precision technology such as Starfire™ receivers and AutoPath™ guidance, the transition to full autonomy is well within reach. Additionally, farmers comfortable with transferring maps, tillage prescriptions, and machine and field data to and from the tractor through the John Deere Operations Center™ are already more than halfway to realizing the benefits of autonomous farming.

The system’s autonomy lies in a combination of components and applications that may already sound familiar, including a StarFire™ receiver, AutoTrac™ Turn Automation, and the John Deere Operations Center™. However, John Deere has added a few game-changing innovations to enable full autonomy including:

  1. 360-Degree advanced cameras that grant the tractor a 360-degree vision, enabling it to detect objects in the field and calculate distances with incredible precision. This real-time visual information processed in as little as 100 milliseconds, allowing the tractor to identify obstacles and stop automatically if it encounters anything unfamiliar, immediately alerting the farmer.
  2. High-Speed Processor that complement the cameras, by evaluating every pixel of every image to make informed decisions about the tractor’s next move.
  3. A Neural Network that powers Artificial Intelligence (AI) which analyzes the images and determines whether the terrain is safe to drive on or not, all within a remarkably short timeframe of about 100 milliseconds.

The autonomous ready tractor comes equipped with a fully functional cab, complete with operator controls. When desired, farmers can take the reins and drive it conventionally. However, during periods of labor shortages, tight weather windows, or when more time is needed for personal matters, the autonomous option proves invaluable. The tractor tirelessly continues its work while farmers can focus on other essential aspects of their lives.

The advantages of autonomy are numerous. Consider it as an extra pair of reliable and tireless hands. With the tractor handling tasks efficiently throughout the day and night, farmers can optimize their time and take advantage of favorable soil conditions. This not only results in increased productivity but also opens up opportunities to cover more acres without the need for additional labor.

John Deere’s Operations Center mobile application further enhances the autonomous experience. Farmers can monitor their tractor’s activities in real-time from anywhere using a smartphone or tablet. The app also provides alerts in case of any obstacles or mechanical issues, ensuring that the tractor operates smoothly and efficiently.

Putting the autonomous-capable tractor to work is a seamless process. After transporting the tractor to the field, farmers can easily configure it for autonomous operation. With a simple swipe on their tablet or smartphone, the tractor will initiate, scan for obstacles, and indicate an “all clear” if the path is safe, allowing it to automatically commence the assigned tasks.

The imminent availability of the autonomous John Deere tractor marks a pivotal moment in agriculture. This technological marvel is set to transform the industry in the coming days, empowering farmers with newfound efficiencies, increased productivity, and improved resource management. As we step into this era of autonomy, John Deere’s contribution to shaping the future of farming cannot be overstated. The dawn of autonomous farming is upon us, and it promises to revolutionize agriculture as we know it.


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July 17, 2023 AGROCHEMICALBLOG0

Strategies For Success in The Evolving Crop Protection Market – Industry Changes and Key Factors for Survival and Growth

The crop protection industry is undergoing a rapid transformation, with significant mergers and acquisitions reshaping the market landscape. Concurrently, investments in ag tech and regenerative agriculture practices are being made by food production companies and governments worldwide. As the industry faces this period of transition and uncertainty, companies are actively expanding in three crucial areas: crop protection, biorationals and specialty nutrition, and precision agriculture technologies in order to thrive in today’s crop protection market.

Diversification Portfolios Reflects Industry Trends

Most company portfolios comprise of synthetic crop protection, biosolutions, and ag tech, showcasing a diversified approach that aligns with the current trends in the agricultural industry. In the current market, companies must diversify so as to adapt to change. Drawing a parallel to Kodak, standing still is never a viable option in any industry given the emergence of technology ventures in agriculture and the subsequent opportunities in sectors like robotics as well as the ongoing challenges in agriculture, including water utilization, precision applications, changing consumer preferences, government regulations, and investor demands. Companies adaptable to change and agile in execution will find emerging opportunities by investing resources into biorationals, specialty nutrition, and precision application spaces.

Tactics for Public Relations in the Agrochemical Industry

“Black Swans” are the need for the agrochemical industry to develop effective public relations tactics to educate the public through multiple efforts since there is lack of a comprehensive industry-wide approach. The application of different initiatives and approaches by individual companies and industry associations, each with distinct focuses, is crucial for adaptability and for the education of urban consumers who are detached from farming and hence need a better understanding of the food supply chain and to avoid misleading information which can erode consumer trust.

Overstock Challenges and Market Implications

The prevalent issue of overstock is a challenge that must be dealt with and clear strategies must be devised with excellent customer service for suppliers to be reliable. They aim to match the suppliers’ manufacturing to demand and maintain inventory levels at around 25% to 30% of net sales. This will deal with challenges faced by the industry due to supply disruptions and high demand for growing technology solutions. It is important to plan with customers so as to anticipate disruptions and establish dual supply arrangements wherever possible. Overstocking is a common occurrence in the industry, often driven by a short-term focus on meeting shareholder pressure and can sometimes tend to squeeze margins and lower prices, negatively affecting working capital and potentially leading to structural issues for some companies.

Prospects for Synthetic Crop Protection and Biologicals

Pricing dynamics between synthetic crop protection products and biologicals might sometimes lead to a shift in producers’ choice of one over the other solely based on price. However, customer decisions to use biorationals are most of the time driven by factors beyond price, including technological advancements, regulatory demands, and evolving consumer trends. Given this, the industry is currently focusing on soil health, nitrogen fixation, and finding a balance between synthetic and biostimulant applications to reduce environmental impact.

Addressing the Challenge of Labor in Agriculture

Recognizing the difficulty in finding skilled workers, labor shortage is a significant challenge in agriculture, affecting various industries. This shortage is attributed to mergers and consolidation that have taken place in the past two decades, resulting in generational gaps and increased competition with other sectors. In order to attract and retain excellent talent, companies need to adopt an entrepreneurial culture driven by a successful team and leadership that empowers employees and provides ownership opportunities. Incentives such as providing a company share plan, where a certain percentage of the company is owned by employees, can foster a sense of ownership and commitment. Additionally, comprehensive employee benefits package and diverse work environment can contribute to the companies’ ability to attract and retain top talent. are key factors in attracting excellent talent.

Summing it all up

To sum it up, the agricultural industry is witnessing significant changes, and companies need to adapt by diversifying their portfolios and invest in emerging sectors. As the crop protection market evolves, it is important for industry players to embrace change, implement effective public relations strategies, manage overstock challenges, and addressing the labor shortage so as to navigate through the shifting sands of agribusiness.


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Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are transforming the way farmers approach crop treatment and pesticide application. In a recent discussion with Ag Tech Talk Podcast, the CEO and Co-founder of Hylio, Arthur Erickson, talked about the revolutionary impact of agricultural drones on farming practices. The conversation shed light on the challenges faced by the industry, the current adoption rate, and the future of drone technology in agriculture.

Arthur acknowledged the successful drone delivery project in Costa Rica, which preceded Amazon and Google’s ventures into this field. Although the project showcased the technical feasibility of drone deliveries, profitability remained a concern due to excessive red tape and limited monetary returns. Consequently, the focus shifted entirely to the agricultural sector, where the potential of drones in crop treatment became evident.

Today, companies like Hylio design, manufacture, and sell crop treatment platforms in the form of crop spraying drones. These drones can effectively apply both liquid and solid products, ranging from pesticides to seeds or bait. The versatility of these devices makes them invaluable tools in the agriculture and adjacent industries, enabling the precise and efficient delivery of chemicals and products for treating crops.

One of the key concerns regarding UAV technology is regulatory landscape surrounding their operations. However, the regulations for agricultural drone use are relatively more lenient compared to those for cargo or human transport over cities. In recent times, however, regulators such as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have however shown greater flexibility when it comes to granting exemptions and waivers for agricultural drone operations, particularly in sparsely populated rural areas. By demonstrating responsible operation practices, such as flying over vast acres of land with minimal human presence, farmers can navigate the current regulatory environment.

The adoption rate of drones in agriculture has been a concern all over the world. While drones have become increasingly ubiquitous, the adoption of agricultural drones has faced some initial hesitancy. This hesitancy can be attributed to farmers’ familiarity with traditional large-scale equipment and the misconception that drones’ smaller carrying capacity may hinder their effectiveness. However, educating farmers about the advantages of drones is important to ensure high update of this groundbreaking technology.

For example, most farmers do not know that agricultural drones can spray crops with a much finer and more penetrative mist, offering increased efficacy even with smaller volumes. Farmers need to be made aware that they can achieve similar results with a 75-litre drone compared to a 1000-litre tractor. Educating the market about these benefits is crucial to driving wider adoption.

The cost savings offered by drones have a much more significant advantage over traditional equipment like spraying with tractors or humans. With the ability to cover 100 acres per hour, agricultural drones are not only more cost-effective in terms of initial purchase prices but also in terms of operating costs. Compared to a $300,000-$450,000 high-clearance sprayer, two of the largest drones currently available in the market, such as Hylio’s Ag272, can achieve the same results at approximately half the price. The operating costs are further reduced to 30%-40% of traditional methods due to lower fuel consumption and maintenance requirements. Drones also offer greater flexibility in deployment, as they can access challenging terrain and perform spot spraying with precision, providing additional cost savings.

Contrary to common assumptions, modern agricultural drones are capable of handling wind speeds of up to 25-30 miles per hour, making them reliable in various weather conditions. However, it is important to adhere to safety guidelines and avoid spraying in excessive wind speeds. The limitations on drone applications were mainly associated with the weight of heavy fertilizers, where traditional equipment remains more efficient.

In terms of usage, agricultural drones can be purchased or rented, depending on the farmer’s preference and needs. Larger farmers often choose to invest in their own drones, while service providers cater to smaller farms and offer drone spraying services. The split between direct buyers and service providers is approximately 50-50.

It is worth noting that the challenges faced by the agriculture technology industry go beyond education. Regulatory uncertainties, labor shortages, and the need for localized support are areas that need attention. Regulatory bodies need to adapt to the evolving industry and provide clearer guidelines to foster growth. Additionally, the industry needs to address the demand for cost-effective and durable drone solutions, particularly in regions with smaller farms and limited infrastructure.

Looking to the future, there is great potential in the advancement of drone technology. It is predicted that drones will continue to increase in size and payload capacity, potentially reaching up to between 190-380 litres. However, the emphasis must be put on further automation to make drones to be more autonomous and capable of charging and refilling between flights. This can involve deploying a fleet of drones to cover a given area, with each drone operating independently based on pre-set instructions. The aim is to minimize human intervention and maximize efficiency.

It has become evident that agricultural drones have the potential to revolutionize farming practices worldwide. With their ability to reduce costs, improve precision, and overcome labor shortages, drones are poised to become an essential tool in modern agriculture. While challenges remain, such as education, regulations, and industry consolidation, the industry is progressing rapidly, and agricultural drones are proving to be a game-changer for farmers across the globe.

For more information about the applications and benefits of agricultural drones, you can enroll for the Precision Agriculture Course at https://olc.eagmark.net/course-enrollment/. The course offers comprehensive resources for those interested in exploring the potential of drone technology and other technology in agriculture.


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July 14, 2023 BLOGEAGMARK NEWS0

⬤ According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), farmers are among those who are at greater risk of dying by suicide.

⬤ The impact of agricultural work extends far beyond physical exertion; it takes a profound toll on the mental well-being of those who dedicate their lives to this noble profession.

Modern-day agriculture has witnessed remarkable transformations, revolutionizing how we cultivate crops and breed livestock to feed an ever-growing global population. Technological advancements and innovations have ushered in convenience and efficiency to farming practices across many regions. However, amidst the progress, farmers find themselves grappling with new challenges and mounting pressures, propelling them into a relentless pursuit of maximizing yields.

Climate change, erratic weather patterns, volatile markets, pest and disease outbreaks, lack of financial incentives, population growth that encroaches upon fertile lands, and an escalating demand for food have coalesced into formidable obstacles, making sustainability an elusive goal for farmers.

Yet, the impact of agricultural work extends far beyond physical exertion; it takes a profound toll on the mental well-being of those who dedicate their lives to this noble profession. Men and women tirelessly labor in the fields, nurturing the soil and tending to crops and livestock, all while facing unique obstacles that can profoundly impact their mental health. Stress, depression, and the harrowing specter of suicide loom large, necessitating urgent acknowledgment and concerted efforts within the farming community.

Within the realm of agriculture, an array of stressors bears down heavily on farmers’ minds. The grueling demands of long hours, incessant financial pressures, and the unpredictable nature of the industry create an immense burden that, if left unaddressed, can exact a devastating toll on mental well-being.

Moreover, the profound sense of social isolation poses yet another formidable challenge. Many farmers toil in solitude, whether on sprawling farms or in remote areas, leaving them with limited social interaction. This absence of regular connection exacerbates existing mental health issues, rendering farmers vulnerable to the corrosive effects of loneliness and isolation.

Depression, a prevalent mental health concern among farmers, must never be underestimated. When left unaddressed, it wreaks havoc on individuals’ lives and jeopardizes their livelihoods. Symptoms such as lingering sadness, hopelessness, disrupted sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, and a loss of interest in activities that once brought joy erect insurmountable barriers to personal and professional fulfillment.

Mental Health in Agriculture - Eagmark Agri-HubYet, perhaps the most alarming aspect is the elevated risk of suicide within the farming community. Distressing statistics reveal that farmers bear one of the highest suicide rates across all occupations. Farmers have one of the highest suicide rates across all occupations.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), farmers are among those who are at greater risk of dying by suicide. The CDC states that this is driven in part by extreme stress of debt, drought and other factors1. In Australia, the average suicide rate in farmers was almost 60 per cent higher than non-farmers. In India, every day, 28 people dependent on farming die by suicide.

This heartbreaking reality underscores the imperative need for proactive intervention and robust support systems.

 

The agricultural community must address the struggles of farmers’ mental well-being by focusing on mental health support to combat stress, depression, and suicide risks.

To confront these critical mental health concerns head-on, it becomes paramount to prioritize the well-being of farmers by ensuring they have unfettered access to vital resources and support networks. Mental health services, encompassing counseling and therapy, must be readily accessible, enabling individuals to seek help when needed. Establishing support groups where farmers can forge connections with peers fosters a sense of community, offering a secure space for sharing experiences and coping strategies.

Moreover, offering resources for financial and legal assistance can alleviate the burden of financial stress that weighs heavily on farmers. Agricultural organizations and employers play a pivotal role in promoting mental health initiatives. By cultivating a workplace environment that nurtures open dialogue, extends support, and acknowledges the unique stressors encountered by farmers, they become agents of positive change.

In response to this profound issue, organizations such as Eagmark emerge as torchbearers, championing the cause of farmers’ mental well-being. Through awareness programs such as the Agricultural Health and Medicine Course and articles like this, they aspire to dispel the stigma surrounding mental health concerns and foster a culture that appreciates and prioritizes the psychological welfare of those who sustain our agricultural systems.

With this in mind, the agricultural sector must confront and address the challenges afflicting farmers’ mental health. By acknowledging the stress, depression, and suicide risks ingrained within farming, we can take proactive strides in establishing vital support systems. Together, we can cultivate a resilient farming community that thrives not only on the land but also within the minds of those who tirelessly tend to it, nurturing a brighter and healthier future for farmers worldwide.


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June 12, 2023 BLOG0

Most of us love fruits, yet very few incorporate them in our dietary routines, with an exception of a few fruit aficionados out there! We thought of putting together this post to enlighten our readers about the benefits of three ‘superfruits’ – apples, bananas, and oranges – iconic fruits that not only tantalize your taste buds but also offer a plethora of health benefits. In this article, we explore the fascinating characteristics of each fruit and discover why they deserve a special place in your diet!

🍎 Apples: A Nutritional Powerhouse 🍏

Apples are nature’s gift to your health, so they’re much more than just a crisp delight! These food powerhouses are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals that support a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Apples are first in the fiber department! They are a great snack option for weight management because of their high fiber content, which maintains a healthy gut and helps with digestion. Apples also include antioxidants like quercetin, which benefit cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation. Including apples in your diet could possibly reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Apples are also a great source of vitamin C, an immune-boosting vitamin that strengthens the body’s defense mechanisms and helps fend off illnesses. They also contain natural compounds like antioxidants and flavonoids, which have been linked to potential cognitive benefits, supporting brain health and sharpening focus.

There is a wide variety of apple cultivars to choose from out there, thanks to nature’s support, pollinators, and research efforts that have been nurtured over the years to come up with crisp, sweet and tangy varieties that satisfy every palate. While some of us enjoy biting into a fresh apple, others simply like incorporating its slices into salads for a refreshing crunch, or using them in delightful desserts to bring a burst of flavor and texture to their dishes.

🍌 Bananas: Nature’s Perfect Snack 🍌

Bananas are like nature’s perfect snack. Whether you enjoy a banana on its own, blend it into a refreshing smoothie, or use it as a natural sweetener in your baking adventures, you’re not only treating your taste buds but also reaping the benefits of its remarkable nutritional profile.

Bananas offer both taste and an incredible array of health benefits. They are rich in potassium, an essential mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and maintain a healthy heart. Their natural sugars provide a quick source of energy, making them an ideal choice for a mid-day pick-me-up. Need an energy boost? Grab a banana!

But the goodness of bananas doesn’t stop there. They are also packed with dietary fiber, aiding in digestion and promoting a healthy gut. Furthermore, bananas contain important vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese, all of which contribute to our overall health and well-being.

🍊 Oranges: A Citrus Burst of Health 🍊

Oranges are like little bundles of sunshine, bringing to the table, a tangy, zesty burst of flavor and numerous health benefits. Their high vitamin C content is well-known for its immune-boosting properties, helping you stay strong and ward off those pesky colds. Oranges are a great choice for relieving your thirst because they are a great source of hydration and have a juicy deliciousness to them.

Additionally, the dietary fiber in these citrus fruits promotes healthy digestion and helps with weight management. Additionally, oranges are a good source of antioxidants, folate, thiamin, and other crucial elements that support cardiovascular health and general vigor.

Oranges are a delicious addition to any healthy diet, whether you prefer a cool glass of orange juice in the morning, love the zesty kick that orange slices provide to your salads, or simply peel one orange and taste its natural sweetness.

Needless to say more, the next time you’re at the grocery store or farmers market, make sure to grab some apples, bananas, and oranges to improve your health and enhance your well-being by adding a burst of fruity goodness to your life.

Share with us on the comments section below: What’s your favorite way to enjoy apples, bananas, or oranges? Do you have any special recipes or tips you’d like to share? Let’s celebrate these fantastic fruits together and spread the fruity love!

Remember, incorporating a variety of fruits into your diet is a great way to ensure you’re getting a diverse range of nutrients. Stay tuned for more fruity fun facts and healthy tips from Eagmark Agri-Hub!


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Walking through Kenyan supermarkets recently, it has become evident that the cost of food shopping has surged significantly. According to a recent Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) recent report, food inflation in the country reached 8% in May 2023, up from 7.9% in April 2023, one of the highest levels recorded in recent months. This is mainly attributed to the increase in prices of food commodities, coupled with other mounting cost-of-living pressures, such as skyrocketing energy bills, transport and soaring rents, which is making Kenyan citizens to truly feel the economic strain.

According to the Central Bank of Kenya, the highest inflation rate recorded in Kenya was 9.5% in November 2022, which slowed for the second consecutive month to 9.1% in December 2022, the lowest since August 2022. Just to put it into perspective, the inflation rate in Kenya increased from 5.8% in November 2021 to 9.5% in November 2022, the highest since June 2017. The inflation rate in Kenya is the measure of price variations in goods and services compared to the same month one year earlier.

In response to this pressing issue, the government recently announced measures it will take to stabilize the economy and normalize the situation. This includes the Finance Bill, 2023 that proposes various tax changes and amendments to the existing tax laws in Kenya. The bill was tabled in Parliament on 4 May 2023 and is expected to be passed into law by 30 June 2023. The National Treasury submitted the Bill to the National Assembly for consideration and enactment into the Finance Act 3.

The bill proposes a raft of tax changes which are geared towards expanding the tax base and raising revenues to meet the government’s ambitious budget of KES 3.6 trillion for the year 2023/2024.

While consumers may perceive an unprecedented rise in daily living expenses, it is important to note that low-income earners in Kenyan households allocate a higher portion of their income to food compared to their higher-income counterparts. Knowing this too well, most supermarkets in Kenya employ highly competitive pricing strategies, offering enticing loss-leading products to attract customers.

The rising cost of living is motivated by the scarcity of essential items experienced earlier this year. Unfavorable weather conditions across the continent, combined with the surge in energy prices, led to shortages of staple crops, fresh fruits, and vegetables. The Russia-Ukraine war-related shocks and the global trade friction has further exacerbated the situation. All these factors have resulted in Kenyan supermarkets and other food traders raising prices of basic commodities.

Farmers, too, are grappling with these challenges. Unpredictable weather patterns, attributed to the effects of climate change, have eroded the confidence of arable growers. Additionally, the escalating costs of energy have forced many producer operations to cease, while outbreaks of animal diseases have negatively impacted the crops, livestock meat and poultry sectors. Notably, Kenya witnessed a drop in production last year due to diseases and high input costs. As a consequence, consumers are facing the ripple effects.

Notwithstanding, the rising food prices do not translate into increased earnings for farmers. Several studies conducted previously revealed that farmers receive less than their production investment costs due to the extensive losses incurred in long supply chains, as well as the competitive pricing strategies adopted by most retail buyers. Conversely, studies have also indicated that farmers receive a more substantial share of the revenue when their produce is sold directly to consumers through smaller, independent shops.

These mounting pressures have compelled numerous farmers to exit the industry, particularly due to an increase in input costs, labor shortages and reduced earnings. Consequent to these challenges experienced, it is highly likely that a drop in production will be witnessed in the farms this year due to a lack of incentive.

The Kenyan government has faced criticism for its financial policies, with accusations directed at the top leadership, for being “cavalier and offhand” with any short-term reforms and changes that can yield substantive and tangible results. The top leadership brass opines that the rising cost of living and surging cost of production will be less significant when the country enjoys true financial autonomy and “free trade” and movement of goods across the African continent and globally.

Moreover, farmers are anticipating reduced subsidies from the government as the basic cost of inputs and taxes continue to increase. Support from the NGO world and other institutions is also proving to be minimal since it is gradually being replaced with environmentally-focused programs. Many farmers have come to a realization that the new schemes do not compensate for the shortfall in their previous harvest seasons, potentially rendering some farms financially unviable.

All these factors highlight the multitude of complexities within Kenya’s food system. Regrettably, high prices and shortages do not appear likely to subside in the near future. Addressing these challenges will require a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach from policymakers, industry stakeholders, and the government, to ensure a sustainable and resilient agricultural sector for Kenya.


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In today’s interconnected world, food systems are more than just a complex network of activities and processes. They are the lifeblood that ensures we have enough food to eat, that it’s nutritious, and that our planet can sustainably support us. These systems encompass everything from planting seeds in the ground to enjoying a meal with loved ones. It’s important for us to understand the different components and challenges of food systems so that we can tackle global issues like climate change and environmental degradation.

At the heart of any food system lies the production phase, where farmers cultivate crops, raise livestock, and harvest fish or seafood. It’s here that sustainable practices become crucial. Taking care of the soil, using water efficiently, and controlling pests in natural ways are all vital to minimize our impact on the environment and preserve our precious resources.

Once food is harvested, it goes through processing and manufacturing stages to transform it into various products. These processes, such as cleaning, sorting, cooking, and packaging, not only make our food safer and last longer but also add value to the products. Efficient food processing facilities are essential to maintain the quality of our food throughout the supply chain.

After processing, comes the distribution and logistics phase, where food is transported and delivered to markets, stores, restaurants, and institutions. A well-designed network of transportation systems, including trucks, ships, planes, and railways, helps us reduce waste and ensure that food reaches its destination on time. Effective management of logistics improves the efficiency of the entire food system.

Then, it’s up to retail outlets like supermarkets, farmers’ markets, and restaurants to make sure that food meets the needs of consumers. What we choose to buy and eat greatly influences the demand for different types of food products and shapes the overall food system. By promoting healthy and sustainable choices, we can create a resilient and nutritious food system for everyone.

Food waste and loss are significant challenges we face in our food systems. Proper management of food waste, such as recycling and composting, is vital to protect our environment and conserve resources. Minimizing food waste not only helps us use our resources wisely but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Governments, international organizations, and regulatory bodies play a crucial role in shaping our food systems through policies, regulations, and incentives. Their actions support sustainable production methods, ensure food safety standards, and address social and economic issues related to food access and affordability. Strong policy frameworks and effective governance are essential for building resilient and equitable food systems.

Socioeconomic and cultural factors also influence our food systems. Dietary preferences, traditions, and food-related behaviors vary across different communities and impact food availability, accessibility, and affordability. It’s important for us to address these factors and create inclusive and equitable food systems that prioritize food security and improved livelihoods for all.

The concept of food systems has gained increasing attention as we face global challenges like population growth, climate change, and environmental degradation. The United Nations recognizes the importance of food systems in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 2, which focuses on ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture.

To build sustainable food systems, we need to adopt environmentally friendly and resource-efficient agricultural practices. This includes methods like organic farming, agroecology, precision agriculture, and conservation agriculture, which minimize the use of chemicals, protect soil health, conserve water, and promote biodiversity. These practices not only reduce the environmental impact but also contribute to long-term food security by preserving natural resources and making our food system more resilient to climate change.

Reducing food loss and waste is another important aspect of building a resilient food system. Approximately one-third of the food produced globally is lost or wasted, leading to significant economic, social, and environmental consequences. We can address this issue by improving post-harvest handling, and implementing better storage and transportation infrastructure. Enhanced packaging and labeling can also help in reducing food waste. Furthermore, educating consumers and raising awareness about the impact of food waste can encourage responsible consumption habits.

Inclusivity and equity are vital considerations when it comes to our food systems. Access to nutritious and affordable food is a fundamental right that should be available to all individuals. Unfortunately, hunger and malnutrition still plague millions of people worldwide. To achieve true food security, we must not only increase food production but also address underlying issues such as poverty, gender inequality, and inadequate infrastructure. Empowering small-scale farmers and marginalized communities through improved access to land, credit, markets, and agricultural technologies can make a significant difference. By doing so, we can create more equitable food systems that uplift livelihoods and ensure that everyone has access to the nourishment they need.

In the face of global challenges, building sustainable and resilient food systems has become imperative. By adopting environmentally friendly agricultural practices, reducing food loss and waste, and promoting inclusivity and equity, we can pave the way for a future where food security, nutrition, and sustainable development are achievable for all. The United Nations’ recognition of food systems as a key driver in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals highlights the urgency for us to transform our current practices and create food systems that not only nourish people but also protect our planet. It is a collective effort that requires us to work together, hand in hand, to shape a brighter future through resilient and sustainable food systems.

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Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies, which provide a means of taking carbon out of the atmosphere, are one of the hottest areas of climate research, but also the most controversial. The debate over whether and how to develop CDR has been ignited by the release of the final section of the comprehensive review of climate science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report found that ways of capturing and storing carbon dioxide might play a role in trying to keep global temperatures within safe bounds. However, scientists and policymakers are divided. Some say the technology must be the immediate priority for research. Others urge caution, and warn against putting faith in untested technology before we have even fully deployed the reliable low-carbon technologies that we already have.

A rash of new technology startups bears witness to the potential business opportunity that many companies and investors see in CDR. These fledgling companies are exploring everything from “scrubbers” that chemically remove carbon dioxide from the air, to “biochar,” which creates fertilizer from burning wood waste without oxygen, and carbon capture and storage (CCS) by which carbon dioxide is liquefied and pumped into underground geological formations.

But the key section of the IPCC report, which ignited the controversy, was fiercely fought over by scientists and governments up until the last moments before the document was finalized. Many scientists, campaigners and green experts are unhappy with the references as they fear that giving the impression there are viable options for removing carbon dioxide might engender a false sense of security. Most CDR technologies are unproven, are likely to be limited in scope, take years to develop and will cost large amounts of money.

Friederike Otto, a lead author of the IPCC report and associate director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, stated that the report was not intended to endorse any particular technology or solution. Instead, it was meant to highlight the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the potential role of CDR in achieving that goal.

Otto also pointed out that the IPCC report was based on the best available scientific evidence and that it did not promote any specific CDR technology. Rather, it recognized that there are different options available and that further research is needed to evaluate their potential and feasibility.

You may also want to read about: Navigating the Challenges of Climate Change in Agriculture: The Role of Biostimulants and Climate Smart Farming

Despite the controversy surrounding CDR, many experts agree that it is a critical tool in the fight against climate change. According to a report by the National Academy of Sciences, the United States could remove up to 10 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by using a combination of natural and technological approaches.

The report found that to meet climate goals, carbon dioxide removal technologies and strategies will need to remove roughly 10 gigatons of CO2 every year by 2050. The report also discusses possible carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approaches and then discusses them in depth.

The report also noted that CDR alone cannot solve the problem of climate change, and that it must be accompanied by efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other measures.

While the development and deployment of CDR technologies remain a divisive issue among scientists, policymakers, and the public, many experts agree that they have the potential to play a vital role in mitigating the worst effects of climate change. However, it is crucial to approach the issue with caution, and to ensure that the development of these technologies is guided by scientific evidence, cost-effectiveness, and environmental sustainability.


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The agriculture industry is feeling the effects of climate change, which includes invasive pests, droughts, intense weather events, and reduced crop yields. This has led growers to seek alternate means of protecting crops and increasing output while keeping the bottom line healthy.

The aim of Climate Smart Farming is to help growers adapt to and manage the risks associated with the changing climate, while creating more resilient, healthier, productive acreage to help sustainably feed a growing world population.

One of the ways growers can make their crops resilient to climate shifts and increasingly significant abiotic stressors is through biostimulants. These products are made up of naturally occurring components and help plants endure stress from drought to temperature to soil conditions. Stressed plants require more inputs to reach a desirable yield, which in turn turns up the pressure on the environment through increased nitrogen use and greenhouse-gas-producing manufacturing and shipping methods.

You may also want to read about: Antibiotic Overuse in Farming Threatens Human Immune System

Many biological companies have been targeting specific ‘stress points’ in the agronomic cycle. Products that improve cold tolerance and increase the speed of root extension into the soil are valuable, as are those that target heat stress, wind stress, and drought stress. The industry is focusing on designing products around agronomic needs, with the goal of getting a plant through the existing climate event. However, almost all of these products are designed to mitigate a stress and will only have value when applied prior to the stress.

The Plant Growth Regulator (PGR) Impasse

The agricultural industry is also facing a PGR regulatory conundrum, with agencies responsible for regulating and enforcing laws related to environmental protection – such as the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in Kenya or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US – considering anything that acts as a PGR as a pesticide. This occurs because most products containing PGRs were used as herbicides. As a result, any product that regulates plant growth and uses that terminology is at risk of being deemed a pesticide, even if it enhances growth rather than limits it, and even if it’s a naturally occurring substance.

One potential solution to this regulatory conundrum is to establish a separate regulatory framework for biostimulants, which would allow for a more streamlined and efficient approval process. This would require a significant amount of collaboration and advocacy from the agriculture industry, as well as increased funding for research and development to better understand the mechanisms and efficacy of biostimulants.

Capitalizing on Climate Smart Agriculture and Biostimulants

Climate smart farming and the use of biostimulants are promising avenues for growers to adapt to the challenges posed by climate change while improving their bottom line and sustainability. However, it will require a concerted effort from all stakeholders in the agriculture industry to fully realize their potential and overcome the regulatory and technical challenges that currently limit their effectiveness.

 


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Picture this – you are a farmer based in the country side, a remote underserved and underdeveloped rural village with ownership of less than an acre under your name, subdivided into several portions for your homestead, with the rest set aside to grow crops and rear a handful of livestock, all these mostly for subsistence. You however try to make ends meet and venture into some less-capital intensive but viable agricultural pursuits like poultry farming, cultivation of some cash crop (sugarcane, tea, coffee, avocado, et cetera) or any other “high-potential”  farming initiative that take months to reach maturity and harvesting, not to mention the long hours spent tending to the crops or flock, as well as input costs incurred to ensure the product is of premium-quality to meet the market and consumers’ expectations before they can fetch somewhat, a fair price for you – which in most cases doesn’t happen and you end up unable to break-even or at a negative, just because of the “artificial” forces and odds that are always working against you!

Well, unfortunately, this is the situation most smallholder farmers in Africa are in and seldom, the circumstances change for the better despite agriculture being the backbone of many African economies – providing livelihoods for millions of people across the continent.

Putting Our Money Where Our Mouth Is!

Smallholder farmers in African often struggle to get a just compensation for their products and effort, with many facing significant challenges that limit their productivity, profitability, and ability to access markets.

Action needs to be taken to support these hardworking farmers, rather than just talking about the importance of agriculture and its potential for economic development while seated in posh “air-conditioned” offices. We must have concrete solutions and investment to address the challenges faced by farmers in accessing markets, finance, and technical skills, among other issues.

In this article, we explore some of the key factors that contribute to this situation and discuss possible solutions.

  1. Limited Access to Markets

One of the biggest challenges facing African farmers is limited access to markets. Many farmers struggle to connect with buyers who are willing to pay fair prices for their products due to inadequate transportation infrastructure, high transaction costs, and limited access to market information. This makes it difficult for farmers to earn a decent income and limits their ability to invest in their farms.

For this reason, Eagmark has developed an eCommerce Marketplace where farmers and agricultural professionals can purchase agricultural inputs at competitive prices and sell their farm produce at fair prices. This platform also connects farmers with consumers and food processors directly, helping in managing the supply chain effectively and therefore reducing the chances of food waste.

  1. Limited Access to Finance

Access to finance is essential for small-scale farmers to purchase inputs, machinery, and equipment. However, African farmers often have limited access to credit due to lack of collateral, high-interest rates, and limited farmer-oriented financial institutions. This makes it difficult for farmers to invest in their farms, improve their productivity, and access higher-value markets.

To mitigate this challenge, Eagmark’s innovative financing solution “FarmBoost”, provides financing for farmers and agribusinesses, ensuring fair access to capital and promotes social development in the sector. By providing bespoke financial lending processes and requirements, the platform aims to level the playing field and provide equal opportunities for all farmers.

  1. Lack of Technical Skills

Many African farmers lack the technical skills required to produce high-quality crops, add value to their products, and manage their farms efficiently. This often leads to low yields, poor-quality products, and difficulty in accessing higher-value markets. There is a need for improved training and extension services to help farmers improve their skills and productivity.

Thanks to solutions such as the Online Learning Campus (OLC) developed by Eagmark and dedicated to provide valuable learning resources for agricultural students, farm apprentices, farmers, and farm managers.

  1. Climate Change

Climate change is increasingly affecting agricultural productivity in Africa. Erratic rainfall patterns, droughts, and floods can damage crops, reduce yields, and affect food security. This can lead to lower incomes for farmers and make it difficult for them to get a fair deal. There is a need for climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies to help farmers adapt to the changing climate.

  1. Dependence on Middlemen

Many African farmers are dependent on middlemen to sell their products. These middlemen often exploit their lack of market knowledge and bargaining power, leading to lower prices for their products. Improved market information systems and support for farmer-led marketing initiatives can help farmers connect with buyers and improve their bargaining power. The Eagmark eCommerce Marketplace does just that by cutting the middlemen off the supply chain to try and enable fair market competition and fair market prices for farmers.

  1. Limited Access to Inputs

Many African farmers have limited access to high-quality seeds, fertilizers, and other inputs. Most often than not, this results to lower yields, lower quality products, and difficulty in accessing higher-value markets. Improving access to inputs and support for farmer-led seed production and distribution systems are some of the initiatives that can be initiated through capacitated farmer organizations.

  1. Poor Infrastructure

Poor infrastructure, such as inadequate storage facilities, lack of electricity, and poor transportation networks, can make it difficult for farmers to get their products to the market in a timely and cost-effective manner. This can lead to spoilage and damage, reducing the quality of their products and lowering their income. Prioritizing investments that improved infrastructure can leapfrog agricultural development.

Governments need to intervene and build well-networked transport infrastructure which can play a great role in ensuring farm produce take the shortest possible time to reach consumers when they are still fresh, thereby reducing the cost of investment on expensive storage equipment, and for those who cannot afford these storage facilities, which is always the case with most small-scale farmers, and their products end up going bad leading to food waste and devastating losses.

  1. Lack of Land Tenure Security

In many African countries, land tenure is insecure, with farmers having limited rights to their land. This makes it difficult for them to invest in their farms and obtain credit, and can also lead to conflicts with larger landholders or the government. With proper government interventions, here can be improved land tenure security and support for community-led land governance systems.

  1. Unfair Trade Policies

Agricultural trade policies in many countries are biased against small-scale farmers. Subsidies, tariffs, and other trade barriers can make it difficult for African farmers to compete in global markets and earn a fair price for their products. Legislation must be put in place to ensure that there is improvement in trade policies that support small-scale farmers and promote fair trade practices.

  1. Inadequate Research and Development

The infrastructure for agricultural research and development is weak in many African nations. Lack of access to cutting-edge technology, industry best practices, and market data may result from this.

In Africa’s agriculture industry, the lack of access to new technologies and techniques reduces productivity and profitability, making it more challenging for farmers to obtain a fair price. Farmers find it difficult to compete in international markets and unable to produce the right quantity or quality of crops required to earn a stable income without access to the most recent technologies. Similarly, without access to market information, farmers cannot make well-informed decisions about what crops to grow, when to sell, and how much to charge.

To address these issues, African governments and international organizations must invest in research and development infrastructure and make it more accessible to small-scale farmers. This can involve providing funding for research institutions, promoting collaboration between researchers and farmers, and disseminating information on best practices and new technologies through extension services.

Promoting public-private partnerships (PPPs) is also another strategy that can bring together government, industry, and academia to drive innovation and create sustainable value chains. PPPs can help address the gap in technology development and innovation by combining the knowledge and resources of different stakeholders.

  1. Lack of Proper Coordination among Farmers

The problem of market fragmentation is somehow a reflection of how poorly disorganized and uncoordinated African farmers are among themselves. It is a well-known fact that when farmer groups come together, they stand a chance and are in a better position to negotiate better prices for their products, as buyers would find it difficult to find alternatives elsewhere.

We have created a curriculum on “The Power of Farmer Organizations: Building a Farmers Community” available on the Eagmark Online Learning Campus (OLC). This course is designed to explore the importance of farmer organizations in building a strong and resilient farming community. It introduces the concept of farmer organizations and the key benefits they offer to farmers, including increased bargaining power, access to information and resources, and the ability to participate in policy-making processes.

  1. Gender Inequality

Putting the buzzwords and all the conundrum aside, women farmers in Africa have often faced significant barriers to accessing resources, such as land, credit, and market information.

According to a study by the World Economic Forum (WEF), women account for nearly half of the world’s smallholder farmers and produce 70% of Africa’s food. However, less than 20% of land in the world is owned by women and over 65% of land in Kenya is governed by customary laws that discriminate against women, limiting their land and property rights – something to critically think about! The WEF study highlights the perspective, but we believe that women truly form the majority or smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

These circumstances have continuously limited women’s farm productivity and profitability, and has led to lower incomes and fewer opportunities to improve their economic status.

Additionally, women farmers are often discriminated against in terms of access to productive resources, such as land, credit, and training. Women typically have less access to these resources than men, which limits their productivity and profitability. This gender inequality affects not only the women themselves but also their families and communities.

In recent times, however, there have been efforts and initiatives across many institutions, organizations and programs to promote gender equality and empower women farmers through policies and programs that promote their access to productive resources.

Eagmark Online Learning Campus (OLC) is offering a “Gender Mainstreaming in Agriculture” course that aims to equip participants with knowledge and skills on how to integrate gender considerations into agricultural policies and programs. The course is open to anyone interested in gender mainstreaming in agriculture, including policymakers, program managers, researchers, and development practitioners.

  1. Insufficient Extension Services

Extension services, such as training in new farming techniques, access to credit, and market information, are often limited in many African countries. This can limit farmers’ ability to adopt new technologies and practices and take advantage of market opportunities.

Extension services play a crucial role in supporting farmers to improve their productivity and profitability. However, they are often limited in many African countries due to inadequate funding, limited human resources, and poor infrastructure. It is therefore essential to invest in extension services and ensure that they are adequately funded, staffed, and equipped to meet the needs of farmers.

  1. Environmental Degradation

Environmental degradation, such as soil erosion, deforestation, and water pollution, is a major hindrance to full productivity of African farms and reduces their profitability. This has led to lower incomes for farmers and makes it more difficult for them to get a fair deal.

Environmental degradation affects not only the immediate productivity of farms but also the long-term sustainability of agricultural production. It is therefore essential to promote sustainable agriculture practices and invest in environmental conservation efforts to ensure that African farmers can continue to produce food and earn a fair income in the long run.

Summing It All Up

All of these factors contribute to the challenges faced by African farmers in getting a fair outcome based on their efforts and toil. While some of these issues may be difficult to address all at once, there are steps that can be taken to help farmers improve their competitiveness and position in the market, just like we are doing through Eagmark’s initiatives – plans into action – and with the right strategic partners and support, such small efforts can be compounded to make greater impacts for the betterment of the farming community and the society’s wellbeing at large – with less talk, and more action!


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ChatGPT has taken the tech world by a storm ever since its launch by OpenAI in late 2022, and it has had an outstanding uptake in almost every global industry. Its application is beyond doubt what would be termed as revolutionary, but for some, they think it spells doom for their careers as they may be rendered jobless soon, especially for those who do not have specialized skillsets. For us at Eagmark, we have tried to keep off the ChatGPT craze and online buzz that has surrounded it ever since its debut, but nonetheless, here we are!

“GPT” in ChatGPT stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer,” which refers to the deep learning algorithm used to process natural language data and generate responses. The “Chat” part of the name implies that the model is designed for conversational applications, such as chatbots or virtual assistants.

ChatGPT uses a deep learning algorithm known as a transformer to process natural language data. This algorithm enables the model to learn and understand the relationships between different words and phrases, making it possible for the model to generate coherent and contextually appropriate responses. This technology has numerous potential applications in various industries, including healthcare, finance, customer service and agriculture.

In recent years, the agriculture industry has witnessed a significant transformation in its operations, thanks to technological advancements. One of the most recent developments is the introduction of powerful language models like ChatGPT into farming operations. This innovative technology has the potential to revolutionize agriculture by helping farmers evaluate vast amounts of data, deliver insights, generate automated reports, and assist with better predictions.

One of the most significant benefits of using ChatGPT in agriculture is its potential ability to monitor crops and livestock when integrated into sensors and cameras. This feature can allow farmers to discover early signs of disease and take proactive measures to resolve concerns. Furthermore, ChatGPT can be trained using massive amounts of agricultural data, including soil conditions, weather patterns, and pest control, to provide accurate predictions and insights. This can aid in decision-making and lead to increased efficiency and profitability.

In addition to monitoring crops and livestock, ChatGPT can also be integrated with messaging applications like WhatsApp to provide farmers with essential information on policy changes and raise awareness, especially for those who are in the marginalized areas. Farmers can receive answers via voice notes and text, making it easier for those who are not comfortable with typing. However, the development of ChatGPT’s support for local dialects may take some time as it currently relies on input in English.

You may also want o read: Top Technology Trends That Are Revolutionizing Agriculture

The automation of manual tasks is another area where ChatGPT can be used to save time and money. It can aid in the optimization of irrigation systems and provide accurate data analysis, enabling farmers to make quick decisions.

Integrating ChatGPT with the other advanced technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, GPS technology, and aerial images can also play an essential role in the future of agriculture. These devices and robotic systems can make farms more profitable, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly. The integration of these technologies into farming methods will be crucial to reducing the agriculture industry’s environmental impact while still increasing productivity.

To sum it up, the use of advanced technologies like ChatGPT in agriculture is a game changer that can transform farming operations and lead to increased profitability. The potential benefits are enormous, and the possibilities are endless. As the agriculture industry continues to evolve, it is vital that farmers and industry players embrace new technologies to ensure a sustainable future.


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The AgTech market is booming, with no signs of slowing down. According to a report by Research And Markets, the global smart agriculture market is estimated to be USD 12.59 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach USD 22.14 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 11.95%. Investment in AgTech will continue to evolve and be used in new ways.

As the world population continues to grow and the challenges facing the agricultural industry persist, it is essential for everyone to work towards the goal of feeding an estimated 9.8 billion people by 2050. Agricultural corporations, governments, and farmers are increasingly adopting technologies to shape the future of food systems. In 2023, it is crucial to keep an eye on the following technology trends in the industry.

1. Controlled Environment Agriculture

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) or indoor farming, is an advanced and intensive form of hydroponically-based agriculture where plants grow within a controlled environment to optimize horticultural practices. Today, CEA facilities mainly produce herbs, lettuces, microgreens, tomatoes, berries, and flowers. In 2023, we expect to see an expansion of the types of products grown in a CEA environment due to ongoing supply chain issues and associated challenges, such as the rising costs of goods and services.

Investors are already targeting farming innovations such as CEA. It is important to note that this innovation would come with potential challenges and additional needs, such as higher upfront equipment costs and training workers on how to use the technology. Operations that invest in new technology will need to upskill their workforce to prepare for the future of work. In doing so, they can better position themselves to be the leaders of their industry.

2. Precision Agriculture

The future of agriculture is exciting, with technology driving the transformation of the industry. One such technology that is gaining popularity is precision agriculture – the use of technology to precisely target farming practices to specific areas, resulting in increased efficiency, lower costs, and reduced environmental impact.

Enroll for the Precision Agriculture Course on the Eagmark Online Learning Campus

Precision agriculture involves using technologies such as sensors, Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping, and drones to gather data about soil health and moisture levels, crops, and weather conditions. This data is then used to optimize farming operations, reduce waste, and increase yields. Precision agriculture enables farmers to make data-driven decisions, leading to improved productivity and profitability.

3. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming agriculture by enabling farmers to collect, analyze, and interpret vast amounts of data. AI-powered tools can identify crop diseases, pests, and nutrient deficiencies, allowing farmers to take proactive measures to protect their crops. AI can also predict weather patterns, enabling farmers to plan their farming activities and reduce crop losses due to extreme weather conditions.

4. Blockchain

Blockchain technology is becoming increasingly popular in the agriculture industry due to its ability to enhance transparency and traceability. Blockchain allows farmers and other stakeholders in the food supply chain to track the journey of food products from farm to fork. This can help to prevent food fraud, reduce waste, and improve food safety.

You may also want to read: How Blockchain is Decoding the Future of Agriculture

5. Robotics

The use of robotics is also on the rise in agriculture. Robots can be used for tasks such as planting, weeding, and harvesting. This can result in reduced labor costs and increased efficiency and productivity, as robots can work around the clock without the need for breaks. Robots can also reduce the use of herbicides and pesticides, leading to better environmental outcomes.

6. Vertical Farming

Another trend in agriculture is the growth of vertical farming. Vertical farms use a controlled environment to grow crops in vertically stacked layers, often in urban areas. This allows for year-round crop production, higher crop yields, and reduced land use. It also allows for greater control over growing conditions, resulting in less water and fertilizer use and reduced pesticide use.

Vertical farming involves growing crops in vertically stacked layers, using artificial lighting and controlled environments. Vertical farming enables farmers to produce crops in urban areas, reducing the distance food travels from farm to fork. Vertical farming also reduces water usage, energy consumption, and the use of pesticides and herbicides.

In 2023, we believe vertical farms could become more automated. Technology and automation, including artificial intelligence, can help support consistent plant results with predictable yields without the issues that can be caused by human error and the labor costs incurred with traditional farming methods.

7. Climate-Smart Agriculture

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing agriculture, and climate-smart agriculture is a response to this challenge. Climate-smart agriculture involves using farming practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase resilience to climate change, and increase food security. Examples of climate-smart agriculture practices include crop diversification, conservation agriculture, and agroforestry.

8. Biotechnology

Biotechnology is also transforming agriculture. Genetic engineering can be used to produce crops with desirable traits, such as resistance to pests and diseases, or increased tolerance to environmental stress. Biotechnology can also be used to produce crops with improved nutritional value, such as golden rice, which is genetically modified to contain beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.

You may also want to read: The Duality, Promise, and Perils of CRISPR in Feeding the World

Overall, the future of agriculture is bright, with technology driving innovation and transforming the industry. As the world’s population continues to grow, the demand for food will increase, making it essential to continue to develop and adopt new technologies that can increase efficiency, reduce costs, and protect the environment.

9. High-speed 5G networks

The implementation of 5G technology is transforming multiple industries by enhancing decision-making, production processes, and factory operations. Agriculture is among the sectors that are experiencing significant advantages from this advanced technology. The low latency, increased network capacity, and reliable high-speed data transfer of 5G are enabling the rapid and effortless transfer of large amounts of data, such as images, videos, 3D models, weather, and topographical information from connected farms. This is saving time and improving the accuracy of AI/ML modelling. With just one click, data from multiple cameras in a connected farm can be transmitted, a process that used to take days using traditional networks. Ultimately, 5G will accelerate the digitization of agriculture for farmers and businesses.

You may also want to read: Revolutionary Smart Farming And Contribution Of 5G In Its Advancement


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Governments often use agricultural subvention as a policy tool to assist farmers in increasing their agricultural productivity. Subsidies can take various forms, such as direct payments, price supports, and tax breaks, to name a few. The primary aim of agricultural subvention is to promote food security, sustainable agriculture, and rural development.

Agricultural subvention has the effect of enhancing agricultural productivity. By reducing production costs, subsidies make it more affordable for farmers to obtain necessary inputs, such as fertilizers, seeds, and farm equipment. Farmers can also invest in advanced technologies that enhance crop yields, reduce waste, and promote food safety.

In addition, agricultural subventions encourage investment in the agricultural sector by incentivizing farmers to expand their operations, resulting in increased production levels and improved supply chain efficiency. This increased production leads to a more stable or even lower price of agricultural products, which benefits consumers by making healthy and affordable food more accessible.

Moreover, agricultural subventions create employment opportunities, especially in rural areas, where farming is a major source of income. Higher agricultural productivity leads to additional labor demand, resulting in job creation and economic growth in rural areas.

According to the World Bank, growth in the agriculture sector is two to four times more effective in raising incomes among the poorest compared to other sectors.

Agricultural subvention is a form of financial assistance given to farmers by the government to help them produce more food. While subventions can help farmers increase their productivity, there are also concerns that they can lead to overproduction and lower prices for farmers.

However, there are potential downsides to agricultural subvention. For instance, it may lead to overproduction, which can cause market surpluses and reduced prices, harming farmers in developing countries who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Additionally, agricultural subvention can be expensive for governments, which may find it more beneficial to invest funds in other sectors. Thus, it is crucial to ensure that subsidies are well-targeted and efficiently allocated to encourage agricultural productivity and promote long-term sustainability.

Agricultural subventions can be an effective tool for increasing productivity and reducing poverty among farmers. However, it’s important to ensure that subventions are used in a way that promotes sustainable agriculture practices and doesn’t lead to overproduction or environmental degradation. By providing farmers with the resources they need to produce more food sustainably, we can help ensure that everyone has access to healthy and nutritious food while also protecting our planet.


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April 14, 2023 BLOG0

Women have always played a crucial role in agriculture, yet they have been sidelined for centuries, with men dominating the industry. The agricultural industry has traditionally been a male-dominated field, with women having a limited role in it. However, in recent years, there has been a shift in this paradigm. Women have started taking up more significant roles in agriculture, especially in livestock rearing, and this trend is growing.

At Eagmark], we believe in empowering women in agriculture, and we are proud of their increased involvement in livestock rearing. We believe that their contribution will bring significant benefits to the industry as a whole. In this blog post, we will delve into why women’s involvement in livestock rearing is so important, and how it is changing the face of agriculture.

The Importance of Women’s Involvement in Livestock Rearing

Livestock rearing is an integral part of agriculture, and women’s involvement in it is vital for several reasons. Firstly, women bring unique perspectives and skills to the table that can help increase productivity and efficiency. Women have a keen eye for detail, and they are often more attuned to the needs of animals. As a result, they can identify potential problems early on and take steps to prevent them from escalating.

Secondly, women’s involvement in livestock rearing can have a significant impact on the industry’s economic growth. In many developing countries, women are responsible for a significant portion of agricultural production, yet they are often paid less than men for the same work. By empowering women in livestock rearing, we can help close the gender pay gap and promote economic growth in these regions.

Thirdly, women’s involvement in livestock rearing can also lead to a more sustainable and inclusive future for agriculture. Women are more likely to prioritize the well-being of their animals and the environment over short-term gains. By encouraging women to take up leadership roles in livestock rearing, we can create a more sustainable and resilient agricultural system.

The Challenges Women Face in Livestock Rearing

Despite the benefits of women’s involvement in livestock rearing, there are still significant challenges that women face in this field. One of the significant challenges is access to resources and training. Women often lack access to training programs, credit, and other essential resources that can help them become successful in livestock rearing.

Another challenge that women face is gender bias and discrimination. In many cultures, livestock rearing is considered a male-dominated field, and women are not taken seriously. Women often face resistance and discrimination from their male counterparts, making it challenging for them to succeed.

The Way Forward

At Eagmark, we believe that women’s empowerment in agriculture is crucial to achieving sustainable development goals. We offer training programs and support services to help women in livestock rearing achieve their full potential. We are committed to providing women with the tools and resources they need to succeed, and we are proud to be a part of this movement towards greater gender equality in agriculture.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done. We need to work towards breaking down the barriers that prevent women from taking up leadership roles in livestock rearing. We need to provide them with the necessary training and resources to succeed. We also need to change cultural attitudes towards women in agriculture and create a more inclusive and supportive environment for them.

Conclusion

Women’s involvement in livestock rearing is crucial for the growth and sustainability of the agricultural industry. Women bring unique perspectives and skills to the table, and their involvement can lead to a more productive, inclusive, and sustainable agricultural system. However, there are still significant challenges that women face in livestock rearing, and we need to work towards breaking down these barriers.


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Malnutrition, particularly a lack in micronutrients, has been linked to anemia, weariness, and in some cases has been implicated in blindness, accounting for 17% of all fatalities in children under the age of five in underdeveloped nations.

While micronutrient deficiency is a type of malnutrition, it has been linked to poor mental development, increased oxidative stress, reduced growth in babies, and inadequate immunity to diseases.

Researchers from the University of Ibadan and IITACGIAR in Nigeria found that a lack of micronutrients in the diet causes “hidden hunger,” necessitating the consumption of foods fortified with sufficient amounts of bioavailable micronutrients.

Due to the substantial reliance on maize-based meals in developing nations and the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies, maize is an ideal source for biofortification due to its low cost of production and rising use in processed goods in these nations.

The grains of maize are a significant crop that can help ensure global food security and contain no anti-nutrients. They comprise roughly 72% starch, 10% protein, 4.8% fat, 8.5% dietary fiber, and 3.0% sugar. Unfortunately, the majority of maize genotypes have low levels of important elements including iron and zinc as well as vitamin A.

The orange and yellow colors of maize have been associated with higher nutritional value due to the presence of carotenoids, especially zeaxanthin and -carotene which impart the color, according to a study conducted to analyze the genetic components of micronutrients like zinc, iron, and provitamin A (PVA) content in tropical maize (Zea mays L.).

The genetic potential of the crop may be obscured because soil and climatic conditions have a significant impact on how micronutrients accumulate in plants. Nonetheless, substantial heritability estimates for zinc and iron accumulation in maize have been reported, showing the absence of environmental influences on physical expression of these traits and the potential for passing them on to the next generation of seeds.

The carotenoid biosynthesis pathway in maize results in the accumulation of provitamin A, which is then converted to vitamin A in the human body through the actions of certain enzymes after consumption.

At the IITA headquarters in Ibadan, 24 yellow to orange endosperm tropical maize inbred lines were crossed utilizing the North Carolina design II. These lines ranged in zinc and provitamin A content from low to high. Based on similarities in zinc and provitamin A concentrations identified in prior seasons, these inbred lines were grouped into six groups, each containing four inbred lines, to produce six sets of crosses.

The study’s findings indicated that while both additive and non-additive gene effects are significant in the inheritance of zinc content and grain yield, additive gene effects influenced provitamin A and iron content in maize to a greater extent.

Aiming to create synthetics, hybrids, and new inbred lines of maize with high levels of micronutrient enrichment and outstanding agronomic performance, high general combining ability inbred lines with effects on micronutrient content and grain production were also found.

During the study, hybrids with notable particular combining ability effects on PVA, iron, and zinc were also discovered.

A key goal of the SDG 2 is food and nutrition security, and IITA-CGIAR research is strategically focusing on a multifaceted strategy to meet this. This study suggests future investigation into the possibility of utilizing heterosis for provitamin A and mineral nutrients in maize, a significant crop that millions of smallholder farmers in rural Africa rely on for food, nutrition, and financial security.

 


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January 16, 2023 BLOG0

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the global food industry has undergone significant changes. In many developed countries, improvements in infrastructure, technology, and farm yields have led to a decline in the percentage of the population working in agriculture. However, in many developing countries, the situation is quite different. because of lack of infrastructure and technology which has made it difficult to increase efficiency and reduce the labor needed in food production.

On average, over the last few decades, about 40% of the world’s population was employed in some agricultural-related industry. This includes not just farmers, but also workers in food processing, transportation, and distribution. However, according to data from the World Bank, the percentage of people working in food production has declined steadily over the past 2 decades.

This decline is primarily driven by the development of infrastructure, technology, and improvements in farm yields. As these factors have improved, it has led to the need for fewer people to labor as farm workers. This is especially true in developed countries, where mechanization has replaced much of the manual labor once needed on farms.

Globally, about 1 billion people still work in agriculture, which represents about 27% of the population. This is down from 44% in 1991, indicating a significant shift in the industry.

Despite this decline, food production remains a critical industry that supports the livelihoods of billions of people around the world. And as the global population continues to grow, it will be imperative for countries to find ways to sustainably and efficiently produce enough food to meet the needs of their citizens. This may involve a combination of traditional farming methods and the use of technology and innovation to increase efficiency and reduce the labor needed to grow and process food.

While the decline in employment in the food industry may be due in part to technological advancements and improvements in infrastructure, it’s important to note that this trend is not uniform across all regions. In fact, in many developing countries, the percentage of the population working in agriculture has remained relatively stable or has even increased in recent decades.

This is due, in part, to the fact that these countries often lack the infrastructure and technology that has allowed developed countries to become more efficient in food production. As a result, much of the farming in these countries is still done by hand, and there is a greater need for labor.

Additionally, many developing countries rely heavily on agriculture as a major contributor to their economies. In these countries, improving efficiency in food production can be a key factor in reducing poverty and promoting economic growth.

The Transformative Changes Needed

There are a number of steps that developing countries can take to improve their food production and catch up with the rest of the world. Some of these steps include:

1. Investing in infrastructure: Improving infrastructure, such as roads, ports, and storage facilities, can make it easier for farmers to get their products to market and increase efficiency in the food supply chain.

2. Adopt new technologies: By investing in new technologies, such as irrigation systems, seed varieties, and fertilizers, developing countries can increase their crop yields and improve the efficiency of their food production.

3. Promote research and development: Supporting research and development can help countries identify new ways to improve food production and address challenges such as climate change and pests.

4. Encourage education and training: Providing education and training to farmers can help them learn new skills and adopt best practices that can increase the efficiency and sustainability of their farming operations.

5. Develop supportive policies: Governments can implement policies that support the growth of the agricultural sector, such as providing access to credit, land, and other resources.

6. Foster public-private partnerships: Public-private partnerships can bring together the resources and expertise of the private sector with the goals and needs of the government, helping to accelerate progress and promote sustainable development.

7. Encourage innovation: Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship can help developing countries identify and pursue new opportunities for improving food production. This could include supporting startups and small businesses that are working on solutions to challenges in the agricultural sector.

8. Promote sustainable agriculture: Adopting sustainable agriculture practices, such as conservation agriculture and integrated pest management, can help developing countries increase their crop yields while also protecting the environment and preserving natural resources.

9. Foster collaboration and knowledge sharing: Collaborating with other countries and sharing knowledge and expertise can help developing countries learn from the experiences of others and identify best practices that can be adapted to their own situations.

While the road ahead may not be easy, it is possible for developing countries to close the gap and join the rest of the world in building a more sustainable and efficient food industry. By working together and embracing new ideas, we can create a brighter future for everyone.


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January 12, 2023 AGRI TECHBLOG0

Blockchain technology is shaking up the agriculture industry with its revolutionary approach to recording transactions and accounts. Dubbed the “blockchain ledger,” this distributed system is gaining popularity as a tool for promoting transparency and accountability.

Gone are the days of costly data storage. Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we store and access information about inventory, farm operations, and the overall status of the agriculture sector.

With blockchain, tracking the source of agricultural products is now a breeze. This means that farmers, customers, and everyone in between can have confidence in the quality of the food supply chain.

But that’s not all. Blockchain’s ability to facilitate data-driven technologies is bringing us closer to the smart farming industry of the future. With its stable and trustworthy data storage capabilities, combined with the power of smart contracts, blockchain is smoothing out the process of transactions between multiple parties and making the entire process faster and more efficient.

Application and uses of Blockchain in Agriculture

Blockchain technology is revolutionizing the agricultural industry by providing new and innovative ways to improve efficiency and transparency. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into some of the most exciting uses of blockchain in agriculture.

Imagine being able to incorporate cutting-edge technology, like sensors, machine learning, and data analysis tools, into your farming operations. This is the concept of “smart farming,” also known as “smart agriculture.” It’s all about using technology to make farming more precise, efficient, and reliable. But, as with any new technology, there are always challenges to overcome.

Traditionally, the management systems for smart farming have been centralized, which can lead to errors in data collection and increases the risk of cyber-attacks. That’s where blockchain technology comes in. By using blockchain, we can securely store data from seed to sale, and allow all players in the process to generate and access the necessary environmental monitoring data at any point along the way. Blockchain’s decentralization is its greatest strength in smart agriculture, as it simplifies data sharing and reduces the risk of data loss and distortion.

There are many exciting projects and solutions currently being developed to take advantage of the power of blockchain in agriculture.

The future of agriculture is looking brighter than ever before, thanks to blockchain technology. With its ability to increase efficiency, transparency, and security, we can look forward to a smarter and more sustainable agricultural industry.

Unleashing the Power of Blockchain in the Agricultural Food Supply Chain: A Revolution in Traceability and Efficiency

In today’s globalized world, the food supply chain in the agriculture industry has become longer and more complex than ever before. But with this increased complexity comes a host of challenges, from concerns about food security and quality, to issues of traceability, trust, and supply chain inefficiencies. These challenges weigh heavily on the economy and society, and put the health of customers at risk.

Enter blockchain technology, the game-changer that resolves many of these difficulties. With blockchain, trust is established between producers and customers by providing specific product data within the blockchain. This greatly improves transparency in the food supply chain process.

The benefits of blockchain technology are far-reaching for both corporations and farmers. It empowers businesses to raise the value of their goods and increase their market competitiveness. It also makes it nearly impossible for low-quality or fake goods providers to continue their deceitful practices.

Think of it as a digital watchdog that guards the food supply chain and make sure that only high-quality and authentic goods make it to your plate. Blockchain technology is bringing a new level of trust and transparency to the agricultural industry, and it’s an exciting time to be a part of it.

Revolutionizing Agriculture: Unlocking the Potential of Blockchain in Supply Chain Management

The food supply chain has become a tangled web of complexities due to the global nature of our food system and the intense competition in the market. Inefficiencies such as traceability, safety, quality, trust, and supply chain inefficiency, pose a significant risk to society, the economy, and human health. Smart contracts play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth and efficient food supply chain system.

Blockchain technology has the power to alleviate many of these issues by helping manufacturers establish a trusting relationship with customers by providing transparent and accurate information about their products on the blockchain. This not only improves the reputation of the products but also helps to boost the competitiveness of the businesses. It also makes it difficult for fraud and low-quality product providers to survive, ultimately driving all suppliers in the agricultural and food industries to improve their product quality.

From the consumer standpoint, blockchain gives accurate and reliable information about how food is produced and traded, addressing concerns about safety, quality, and environmental sustainability. It enables customers to better understand the food production process and connect with farmers, thus fostering consumer trust and confidence in food safety. For regulatory authorities, blockchain provides transparent and accurate supply chain data that allows them to implement informed and efficient policies and even aid in crop insurance.

While blockchain technology is rapidly evolving, it still has a long way to go in transforming the food supply chain. Its implementation in the food supply chain still faces challenges, such as a lack of widespread engagement and collaboration from all stakeholders, and immature and flawed areas in the deployment process. Furthermore, it is critical to study the motivations of the parties involved to contribute accurate data to the blockchain, particularly for small-scale farming, as the benefits of blockchain may vary depending on the size of the farm.

In conclusion, blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the food supply chain by providing transparency, security, and decentralization. It helps in preventing food fraud, reducing supply chain management costs, improving food safety and traceability, enabling smart farming and smart index-based agriculture insurance, and provides new revenue streams. However, its implementation is still in its early stages and further research is needed to understand its full potential and limitations.

Harvesting the Benefits: How Blockchain is Transforming Agricultural Insurance

Climate change has thrown the agricultural industry into a state of uncertainty, with extreme weather events taking a toll on the quality of crops and cattle. To combat this unpredictability, farmers often turn to agricultural insurance schemes as a safety net.

Farmers pay a small insurance fee at the start of each growing cycle, and in return, they are compensated if their farms suffer losses due to unpredictable weather conditions. This gives farmers a sense of security as they navigate the unpredictability of weather patterns and the vagaries of the supply chain.

With various insurance policies to choose from, farmers can pick a policy that suits their needs the best. However, traditional insurance policies often have difficulties relating to damage assessment and lack of insurer information, causing headaches for both farmers and insurance companies.

But what if I tell you there’s a technology that can change all that? Blockchain technology has the potential to transform a variety of industries, and the agricultural industry is no exception. Blockchain can aid the advancement of index-based insurances in a couple of ways.

First, payments could be based on real-time and automatic criteria like weather data. For example, if a certain temperature threshold is reached, it would trigger a payout to the farmer. Smart contracts can specify these terms exactly.

Secondly, with a smart oracle, all data sources, such as weather data and plant growth information, can be automatically used in the insurance scheme, which significantly improves the payment process and index determination.

It’s an exciting time for the agricultural industry as blockchain technology is providing new ways to mitigate risk and uncertainty. It’s a game-changer for farmers and insurance companies alike.

Blockchain-Powered Data Storage

Picture this, with the help of a blockchain developer, buying and selling agricultural products on e-commerce sites becomes a breeze, thanks to the power of blockchain technology. Imagine a world where information protection, food supply chain management, agricultural supply chain data storage, decentralized crop insurance and reduced transaction costs are all a reality.

When it comes to data security, blockchain has your back. It offers the vital feature of private key encryption, which strengthens the validity of the authentication process. This ensures that all data collected throughout the planting and harvesting stages is kept safe and secure.

In terms of supply chain management, blockchain acts like a conductor, orchestrating the flow of information and transactions between all parties, leading to increased efficiency and lower costs. This can also help to improve traceability and transparency, allowing you to know the exact origin of your produce.

And let’s not forget the payment process, which becomes a seamless experience. Blockchain technology enables digital payment solutions with zero transaction costs, and the integration of cryptocurrencies can further reduce the costs, allowing you to save more.

All of these features contribute to increasing customer trust in the e-commerce process of buying agricultural products. This not only benefits farmers by increasing their revenue and reach to a larger audience, but it also empowers customers to make informed decisions about the food they consume.

In short, blockchain technology has the power to revolutionize the agricultural industry by improving data.

Blockchain for Better Bites: Revolutionizing Food Production with this innovative technology

Blockchain technology is a game-changer for the food industry. It offers transparency, security, and decentralization to an industry that desperately needs it. With blockchain, transactions are recorded and stored immutably, meaning that every modification is tracked and exposed to the entire network, making it impossible for transactions to be altered or disguised.

Think of blockchain as a digital ledger that records all the information about the food production process, stored in a distributed fashion across multiple networks that all members can access and read. This creates a transparent environment where trust is no longer necessary and there is no need for a central authority to mediate between parties.

This is especially important when it comes to detecting food tampering, fraud, and deceptive advertising. It also helps with large-scale recalls of hazardous goods, reducing food waste in supply chain networks and preventing food spoilage, and allowing businesses to confirm organic or fair-trade origins.

However, implementing blockchain technology in the food production industry does come with its challenges. Understanding the complexity of the food ecosystem and creating a tailored system that can handle different shapes, sizes, storage systems, handling processes, and data recording methods can be a barrier for newcomers to the field.

Another issue is data transparency, as it can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can provide accountability and improve transparency in the agricultural industry, but on the other hand, it can lead to backlash against corporations if something goes wrong. And as we all know, blockchain technology needs to handle large amount of data and properly plan out the structure and scaling of the network.

Blockchain technology has the power to revolutionize the food production industry, making it more transparent, secure and efficient. It may be a bit challenging to implement, but with the right approach, it can bring a whole new level of transparency and trust to the food industry.

Summing It All Up

Blockchain technology is on the rise and showing no signs of slowing down. It has the potential to shake up multiple industries, but the agriculture market is particularly ripe for disruption. With a global value of over 2.4 trillion dollars and over one billion employees, the possibilities for innovation are endless.

Think of blockchain in agriculture as a tool for streamlining and modernizing the entire supply chain process. Smart contracts, big data, crop insurance, and unmanned aerial vehicles are just a few examples of how blockchain can be utilized to track and improve efficiency in the food production process.

Imagine being able to trace the exact origin of your produce, all the way from the farm to the grocery store. Smart contracts can revolutionize the way agricultural supply chains operate by using the data collected through crop insurance schemes to boost overall supply chain management.

In short, if you’re an agricultural supply chain looking to increase efficiency, implementing a private, local blockchain to track and manage your data is the way to go. With live access to information collected throughout the entire food production process, your supply chain will be able to operate with precision and transparency.Top of Form


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January 10, 2023 BLOGEAGMARK NEWS0

The nutritious benefits of peanuts cannot be underscored enough! Peanuts are a delicious food that can be enjoyed as part of a healthy and varied diet. In addition to their many health benefits, peanuts can also be a sustainable and socially responsible choice, as they can support smallholder farmers and contribute to the sustainability of local communities.

In this blog post, we’ll explore ten reasons why you should consider adding peanuts to your diet. From their role as a good source of plant-based protein and fiber, to their potential benefits for heart health and weight management, peanuts are a versatile and nutritious food that can offer a range of benefits when consumed as part of a healthy diet.

So, if you’re looking to add some crunch and flavor to your meals, or if you’re just looking for a nutritious and tasty snack, it’s time to go nuts for peanuts!

Here are ten reasons why you should consider adding peanuts to your diet:

  1. Peanuts are a good source of plant-based protein: One serving of peanuts (about 28 grams) contains about 7 grams of protein, making them a good source of this important nutrient for vegetarians and vegans.
  2. Peanuts are high in fiber: Peanuts are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which can help to support digestive health and prevent constipation.
  3. Peanuts are rich in antioxidants: Peanuts are a good source of antioxidants, which can help to protect cells from damage and may have anti-aging effects.
  4. Peanuts may support heart health: Some studies have suggested that peanuts may help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease when consumed as part of a healthy diet.
  5. Peanuts are versatile and convenient: Peanuts can be eaten on their own as a snack, added to dishes as a crunchy topping, or used to make peanut butter and other products. They are also portable and easy to pack, making them a convenient snack option.
  6. Peanuts may help with weight management: Peanuts are high in protein and fiber, which can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied. Some studies have also suggested that peanuts may help with weight management when consumed as part of a healthy diet.
  7. Peanuts are a good source of nutrients: In addition to protein and fiber, peanuts are also a good source of several important nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium, and niacin.
  8. Peanuts may have anti-inflammatory effects: Some research has suggested that peanuts may have anti-inflammatory effects, which may be beneficial for conditions such as arthritis.
  9. Peanuts are a sustainable food option: Peanut farming can be a sustainable and environmentally-friendly option, as peanuts can be grown in rotation with other crops and help to improve soil fertility.
  10. Peanuts are delicious: Last but not least, peanuts are a tasty and satisfying food that can add flavor and crunch to a variety of dishes and snacks

Generally, peanuts are a nutritious and delicious food that can be enjoyed as part of a healthy and varied diet. From their role as a good source of plant-based protein and fiber, to their potential benefits for heart health and weight management, peanuts are a versatile and nutritious food that can offer a range of benefits when consumed as part of a healthy diet.


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January 10, 2023 BLOGEAGMARK NEWS0

Peanuts are a popular snack food that many people enjoy, but did you know that peanuts are actually legumes and not nuts? That’s right – groundnuts are related to beans and lentils and are native to South America.

Peanuts are high in protein and are considered a good source of energy. They also contain numerous vitamins and minerals, including niacin, vitamin E, and magnesium. In fact, peanuts are so nutritious that they are often used in animal feed to provide a high-quality source of protein and other nutrients.

How Important are Groundnuts?

In Africa, peanuts are primarily grown for their edible seeds, which are either consumed directly or used to make products such as peanut butter or oil. Peanuts are also used in a variety of traditional African dishes, such as groundnut stew, which is popular delicacy in some African nations.

In addition to their culinary uses, peanuts also provide numerous economic and social benefits in Africa. Peanut farming is a major source of income for smallholder farmers in many African countries and helps to support local communities. Peanut production also helps to improve soil fertility and can be grown in rotation with other crops, making it a sustainable and environmentally-friendly option.

Did you know that peanut butter was first created in the late 1800s as a food for people who had difficulty chewing?

Today, peanut butter is enjoyed by people of all ages and is a common ingredient in a variety of recipes. Peanuts are also used in other products, such as peanut oil and candy, and they can even be found in some cosmetics.

The peanut butter industry in Africa is a growing sector that plays a significant role in the economy and agriculture of many African countries. Peanut butter is a popular and nutritious food in Africa, and it is often consumed as a spread on bread or used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes.

In Africa, peanuts are primarily grown for their edible seeds, which are either consumed directly or used to make products such as peanut butter or oil. The production of peanut butter in Africa is a labor-intensive process that often involves small-scale farmers and processors, who may lack access to modern equipment and technology. This can make it challenging for the industry to compete with larger, more mechanized producers in other parts of the world.

Despite these challenges, the peanut butter industry in Africa has often provided significant economic and social benefits to the region. Peanut butter production creates jobs and provides income for smallholder farmers and processors, and it also helps to improve food security and nutrition in African communities.

Peanuts are often grown in rotation with other crops, as they can help improve soil quality by adding nitrogen to the soil. This makes them a valuable crop for farmers and helps to ensure the sustainability of agricultural practices.

Unfortunately, peanuts can be a problem for some people, as they are one of the most common food allergies. Many people experience severe reactions to peanuts and peanut products, which can be life-threatening in some cases. It’s important for individuals with peanut allergies to be aware of this and to take necessary precautions when consuming peanuts or products that may contain peanuts.

The peanut industry in Africa faces a number of challenges, including low productivity, limited access to credit and markets, and the impact of climate change. However, there are also opportunities for growth and development within the sector, such as the increasing demand for peanuts and peanut products globally, as well as the potential for value-added processing and exports.

Other Unique Facts About Groundnuts That You Should Know

  1. Peanuts are sometimes called “ground nuts” because they grow underground
  2. Peanuts are a rich source of antioxidants, which are substances that can help protect the body against damage caused by free radicals.
  3. Peanuts have a long shelf life and can be stored in a cool, dry place for several months without spoiling.
  4. Peanut farming plays a vital role in the economies of many developing countries, as peanuts are a major source of income for small farmers.
  5. Peanuts are a popular ingredient in many international cuisines, including Chinese, Thai, and African dishes.
  6. Peanut shells can be used as mulch in gardens, as they help to suppress weeds and retain moisture in the soil.
  7. The peanut plant is a legume, which means it has the ability to fix nitrogen from the air into the soil, helping to enrich the soil and improve its fertility.
  8. Peanuts are a good source of monounsaturated fats, which can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

You may also want to read about: Time To “Go Nuts”: 10 Reasons Why You Should Eat Peanuts Quite Often


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January 6, 2023 AGRI ECONOMICSBLOG0

The high global food prices in the 21st century is causing concern about the potential for a global nutrition crisis. A study of over 1.27 million children in 44 low and middle-income countries found that exposure to food inflation during pregnancy and early childhood is associated with a higher risk of child wasting in the short term and stunting in the long term.

Poor and landless rural households are particularly at risk for child wasting due to food inflation. These findings emphasize the importance of policies that improve maternal and young child nutrition and address food price volatility and access to nutritious foods.

Food prices have been highly volatile in recent years, with three international price spikes occurring in the past 15 years, including the current COVID-19 pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine. Domestic food inflation in low and middle-income countries remains high, with countries facing economic issues, conflict, or poor governance being particularly affected.

The negative impacts of food price crises on nutrition are particularly concerning given their frequency and increasing intensity in the 21st century. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s international food price index reached an all-time high in March 2022, 116% higher than its 2000 value. This is higher than even the peak of the 2007-2008 crisis.

While international prices have recently decreased, domestic food inflation in low and middle-income countries remains high by historical standards, particularly in countries facing economic mismanagement, conflict, or poor governance. It is crucial to address these food price crises and their effects on nutrition, particularly for vulnerable populations such as poor and landless rural households and young children.

Image Source: IPFRI Blog

The impact of Inflation

International food price increases pose a threat to the welfare of the poor, particularly in light of the severe impacts of COVID-19 on poverty and malnutrition. Simulation models from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) suggest that increases in food, fuel, and fertilizer prices are linked to short-term increases in poverty, even if rural economies may benefit from higher prices in the long run. However, little is known about the effects of food inflation on child nutrition in the short or long term.

Optimal maternal nutrition during pregnancy and proper child-feeding practices in early life are crucial for promoting development and protecting health and nutrition at all stages of life. Therefore, as food prices rise and households’ access to nutritious foods and healthy diets decreases, it is a major concern that the nutrition of pregnant and lactating women and their young infants, who have high nutrient requirements, may suffer the most.

A study using data from 130 Demographic Health Surveys in 44 low and middle-income countries found that food inflation is associated with higher risks of wasting and severe wasting in children, particularly in infants under 5 months of age, potentially due to a maternal nutrition pathway during pregnancy. Food inflation was also linked to poor dietary diversity in children aged 6-23 months, suggesting an additional postnatal pathway.

For stunting, a measure of long-term or chronic malnutrition, we test the effects of food price changes in the year before measurement. Those predicted risks are shown in Figure 3 for all stunting (in black) and severe stunting (in blue), by child age. Food inflation is again associated with higher risks for stunting and severe stunting, and the effect size is large and robust across ages. Across all children 0-59 months of age, a 5% increase in the real price of food is associated with a 7% higher risk of stunting and a 10% higher risk of severe stunting.

These results demonstrate the negative impacts of food inflation on child nutrition, particularly for wasting in the short term and stunting in the long term. They also highlight the importance of addressing food price volatility and improving access to nutritious foods in order to protect the nutrition of vulnerable populations such as pregnant and lactating women and young children. It is crucial to implement policies focused on improving maternal and young child nutrition, as well as broader actions to reduce food price volatility and increase access to nutritious foods.

Image Source: IPFRI Blog

Which groups are most vulnerable to the negative impacts of food inflation?

Previous research has shown that poor, rural, and landless households are often more vulnerable to inflation shocks, while male infants are more vulnerable to shocks than females according to nutrition-focused studies. The current study also found that male children, rural children, and children from asset-poor and landless households are at higher risk for wasting due to food inflation, particularly for male children and children from asset-poor and landless households. These findings demonstrate the disproportionate impact of food inflation on vulnerable populations and the need for targeted policies to protect their nutrition.

The long-term effects of short-term economic shocks on nutrition

Even brief periods of poor nutrition can have lasting impacts on child growth and development, particularly during the first 1000 days of life when the foundations for optimal nutrition, health, and development are established. The study found that price increases during pregnancy and the first year of life were linked to a higher risk of stunting at age 3-5 years, with stronger effects for severe stunting. These results show the significant and long-lasting consequences of nutritional insults during critical periods of development.

Image Source: IPFRI Blog

Image Source: IPFRI Blog

Policies and programs to protect young children and mothers

IFPRI’S study suggested some implications. The impacts of food inflation on nutrition during the critical period of the first 1000 days of life, including pregnancy and infancy, and the disproportionate impact on poor and landless rural households highlight the urgent need for policies and programs to protect these vulnerable populations.

The IFPRI’s study suggested that Maternal and child food or cash transfers, possibly with health and nutrition-related conditions, can provide protection throughout the first 1000 days and beyond, particularly if they are targeted at the poorest groups and combined with nutrition and health-focused social behavior change communication and adjusted for inflation.

The publication suggested that investing in multi-dimensional early warning systems and programs to prevent and manage severe acute malnutrition is also important in an era of increased food price volatility and extreme weather events. Additionally, food policies should aim to stabilize food prices and increase the affordability of nutritious foods.

The study recommended the following scaling up investments in climate-smart and nutrition-smart agricultural research and development, implementing new approaches to grain reserves, more closely regulating biofuels policies, reforming trade to prevent export restrictions, and adapting and making social protection programs more nutrition-sensitive to protect the incomes and diets of high-risk populations. closely regulating biofuels policies, reforming trade to prevent export restrictions, and adapting and making social protection programs more nutrition-sensitive to protect the incomes and diets of high-risk populations.

Read full article on IFPRI’s Blog


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CRISPR, or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, is a revolutionary gene-editing tool that has the potential to transform the agriculture industry. This innovative technology allows scientists and researchers to precisely target and alter specific genes within an organism’s DNA, paving the way for the development of crops that are more resistant to pests and diseases, require less water and fertilizers, and have a longer shelf life.

CRISPR works by targeting specific sequences of DNA within an organism’s genome and making precise changes to those sequences. The process begins with the identification of the specific gene or genes that are to be edited. Once the target gene has been identified, a small piece of RNA, known as a guide RNA, is designed to bind to the target gene. The guide RNA is then combined with an enzyme called Cas9, which functions like molecular scissors, to cut the DNA at the specific location targeted by the guide RNA.

Once the DNA has been cut, the cell’s natural repair mechanisms are activated and the DNA is either repaired or replaced with a new sequence of DNA. The new sequence can be one that is naturally found in the organism, or it can be a synthetic sequence that has been designed to introduce a specific change or trait into the organism.

Revolutionizing Agriculture: The Power of CRISPR

In the case of agriculture, CRISPR can be used to modify the genes of crops in order to enhance specific traits, such as pest resistance, drought tolerance, or nutritional content. For example, scientists might use CRISPR to introduce a gene from a pest-resistant plant into a crop species that are prone to pest damage. This could result in a crop that is more resistant to pests and requires fewer pesticides to protect it. Similarly, CRISPR could be used to modify the genes of a crop to make it more drought-tolerant, or to enhance its nutritional content by increasing its levels of certain vitamins or minerals.

CRISPR has the potential to greatly enhance the resilience of crops, making them better able to withstand extreme weather conditions, pests, and diseases. By modifying the genes of crops, scientists can create varieties that are more resistant to drought, flooding, and high temperatures, which can significantly reduce crop losses and improve food security.

For example, CRISPR has been used to develop maize varieties that are more drought-tolerant. Maize is a major food crop that is grown around the world, and drought is a major factor that can reduce crop yields. By introducing genes from drought-tolerant plants into the corn seeds, scientists have been able to create maize varieties that are able to survive prolonged periods of drought. This could have a significant impact on food security in areas that are prone to drought and reduce the risk of crop failure.

In addition to improving drought tolerance, CRISPR can also be used to enhance the resilience of crops to other extreme weather conditions. For example, scientists have used CRISPR to develop rice varieties that are more resistant to flooding. Flooding is a major threat to rice crops, and it can cause significant losses for farmers. By creating rice varieties that are more resistant to flooding, CRISPR has the potential to improve food security and reduce the risk of crop failure in areas that are prone to flooding.

In addition to improving crop resilience, CRISPR can also be used to boost crop yields. Scientists have used CRISPR technology to develop crops that are more resistant to pests and diseases, which can greatly reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides. This not only reduces the environmental impact of agriculture, but it can also reduce the costs of production for farmers.

By modifying the genes of crops, scientists can create varieties that are more resistant to pests and diseases, which can greatly reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides. This not only reduces the environmental impact of agriculture, but it can also reduce production costs for farmers.

For example, CRISPR has been used to create potato varieties that are resistant to the potato blight fungus, which can devastate potato crops and cause significant losses for farmers. By eliminating the need for pesticides and herbicides, CRISPR has the potential to greatly improve the efficiency and profitability of potato production.

In addition to increasing pest and disease resistance, CRISPR can also be used to enhance other factors that influence crop yields. Scientists have used CRISPR to modify the genes of rice to improve its photosynthetic efficiency, which can increase crop yields. Other studies have shown that CRISPR can be used to increase the size and number of seeds produced by crops, which can also boost crop yields.

Another potential application of CRISPR in agriculture is the creation of crops with improved nutritional profiles. By altering the genes of certain crops, it is possible to enhance their levels of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are essential for human health. This could be especially beneficial for populations that are at risk of malnutrition, such as those living in developing countries.

Researchers have used CRISPR to modify the genes of rice to increase its levels of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A deficiency is a major health problem in many developing countries, and it can cause serious problems, including blindness. By creating rice varieties that are rich in beta-carotene, CRISPR has the potential to improve the nutrition of millions of people around the world.

In addition to increasing the levels of specific nutrients, CRISPR can also be used to create crops with more balanced nutritional profiles. CRISPR technology has been used to modify the genes of wheat to increase its levels of zinc and iron, which are essential nutrients that are often lacking in the diets of people in developing countries. By creating crops that are rich in these nutrients, CRISPR has the potential to improve the nutrition of millions of people around the world.

From Drought-Tolerant Crop Varieties to Longer Shelf Life: The Many Possibilities of CRISPR in Agriculture

The benefits don’t stop at that point. There are many other potential benefits of CRISPR in the agricultural sector. Some of the other potential benefits of CRISPR in agriculture include:

  • Creating crops with a longer shelf life: By modifying the genes of certain crops, it is possible to increase their shelf life and reduce spoilage and waste. This could be especially beneficial for crops that are prone to rapid deterioration, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Reducing the environmental impact of agriculture: CRISPR can be used to create crops that require less water and fertilizers to grow, which can help to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. It can also be used to create crops that are more resistant to pests and diseases, reducing the need for pesticides and herbicides.
  • Improving the efficiency of agriculture: CRISPR can be used to create crops that are more efficient at converting sunlight and other resources into biomass, which can increase crop yields and reduce the resources required to produce a given amount of food.
  • Enhancing the flavor and quality of crops: By modifying the genes of certain crops, it is possible to improve their flavor and other sensory qualities, which can make them more appealing to consumers.
  • Developing crops that can grow in challenging environments: CRISPR can be used to create crops that are able to thrive in environments that are traditionally inhospitable to agriculture, such as salty or arid soils. This could open up new areas for agriculture and help to improve food security in regions that are currently unable to support traditional crops.

Controversial Concerns of CRISPR in Agriculture

While the potential benefits of CRISPR in agriculture are significant, there are also concerns about the potential risks and unintended consequences of gene editing. These concerns center around the possibility that CRISPR could have negative impacts on the environment and human health, as well as ethical and social implications.

One of the major concerns about CRISPR in agriculture is the potential for negative impacts on the environment. There are concerns that gene-edited crops could have unintended consequences on non-target species, such as insects and birds. For example, if a gene that is toxic to pests is introduced into a crop, it could also be toxic to other species that feed on the crop, such as birds or butterflies. There are also concerns that gene-edited crops could have unintended impacts on soil health and other aspects of the environment.

Another concern about CRISPR in agriculture is the potential for negative impacts on human health. Some experts have raised concerns about the possibility that gene-edited crops could have unintended consequences on human health, such as the potential for allergenic reactions. There are also concerns about the long-term safety of consuming genetically modified foods, as the effects of consuming such foods over an extended period of time are not yet fully understood.

In addition to these concerns, there are also ethical and social implications of CRISPR in agriculture. Some experts have raised concerns about the potential for gene editing to be used to create crops with traits that are considered desirable by certain groups, while others are left behind. There are also concerns about the potential for gene editing to be used to create crops with traits that are considered “designer,” such as crops with specific flavors or colors, which could lead to further inequality and social divides.

Despite these concerns, the use of CRISPR in agriculture is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. As the technology becomes more refined and widely accepted, it is likely to play a key role in addressing some of the major challenges facing the agriculture industry, including food security, sustainability, and nutrition.

While the potential benefits of CRISPR in agriculture are significant, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and unintended consequences of this technology. It is essential that the use of CRISPR in agriculture be carefully regulated and monitored to ensure that it is used in a responsible and ethical manner.

To begin with, the use of CRISPR in agriculture can be regulated and monitored to ensure that it is used in a responsible and ethical manner. Some of the ways in which this can be done include:

  • Establishing regulatory frameworks to govern the use of CRISPR in agriculture. These frameworks can include guidelines for the development and use of gene-edited crops, as well as procedures for evaluating the potential risks and benefits of such crops.
  • Seeking pre-market approval for gene-edited crops before they are allowed to be grown and sold. This can help to ensure that gene-edited crops are safe for human consumption and the environment.
  • Conducting independent testing of gene-edited crops to evaluate their safety and effectiveness. This can help to ensure that gene-edited crops are safe for human consumption and the environment.
  • Labeling gene-edited products so that consumers are informed about the presence of gene-edited ingredients in the products they purchase. This can be done through labeling requirements that clearly indicate the presence of gene-edited ingredients in products.
  • Ensuring transparency and openness to public scrutiny when developing and using gene-edited crops which can help to ensure that the risks and benefits of gene-edited crops are fully understood and considered.

The potential applications of CRISPR in agriculture are vast and varied and cannot be understated. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we grow our food and address some of the major challenges facing the agriculture industry. However, while the potential benefits of CRISPR in agriculture are significant, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and unintended consequences of this technology for the benefit of the consumers and to allay public fears. One would argue that it is essential that the use of CRISPR in agriculture be carefully regulated and monitored to ensure that it is used in a responsible and ethical manner.


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January 2, 2023 BLOG2

Cocoa farming is a vital and often overlooked industry that provides the world with one of its most beloved treats: chocolate. Cocoa is primarily grown in countries located within 20 degrees of the equator with the majority of production occurring in West Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia.

Cocoa farming is an important industry in many countries around the world, and it plays a vital role in supporting the economies of cocoa-producing countries. However, it is also facing a range of challenges, including low and volatile cocoa prices, limited access to resources and technology, the impact of deforestation, limited availability of land for cocoa cultivation, and the impact of climate change and pests and diseases.

In the African continent, Cocoa is grown majorly in West Africa, which is the largest cocoa-producing region in the world, accounting for around 70% of global production. The top cocoa-producing countries in West Africa are Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria. Cocoa farming in West Africa is often characterized by small, family-owned farms and low productivity levels.

South America is the second-largest cocoa-producing region, with countries such as Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru being major producers. Cocoa farming in South America is often more mechanized than in West Africa, with larger farms and higher productivity levels.

In Asia, the crop is mainly grown in the Southeast region, with Indonesia and the Philippines being the main producers. Cocoa farming in Southeast Asia is often characterized by smallholder farmers and low productivity levels. It is also facing a range of challenges, including the impact of deforestation and the limited availability of land for cocoa cultivation.

The Cocoa Crop

Growing cocoa is a labor-intensive process that requires a great deal of care and attention. Cocoa trees can take up to five years to mature and begin producing cocoa pods, which must be harvested by hand. Additionally, cocoa trees are sensitive to their environment and require specific conditions to thrive.

They need to be grown in areas with high humidity, plenty of sunlight, and well-draining soil. They also require regular pruning and fertilization to maintain their health and productivity.

Cocoa pods come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the quality of the cocoa beans inside can vary greatly. The best cocoa beans are those that are plump and have a deep, rich color. After harvesting, the pods are then cracked open to reveal the cocoa beans, which are fermented and dried before they can be shipped and processed into chocolate. The fermentation process is a crucial step in producing high-quality cocoa beans. It involves placing the cocoa beans in boxes or baskets and allowing them to ferment for several days. This helps to develop the flavor and aroma of the cocoa beans.

Exploring the Complexities and Challenges Faced by Farmers

One of the major challenges facing cocoa farmers is the issue of low and volatile cocoa prices. Cocoa prices are subject to fluctuations due to a variety of factors, including weather conditions, and pest outbreaks. The cocoa market is also influenced by a variety of factors, including political instability, economic conditions, and global demand. This makes it difficult for farmers to plan for the future and invest in their farms.

Cocoa farmers often have to deal with a variety of pests and diseases, with the most destructive pest being the cocoa pod borer, a moth that can devastate entire cocoa plantations. Farmers however tend to use a variety of methods to control pests, including the use of chemical pesticides, biological controls, and cultural practices such as crop rotation.

Another challenge is the limited access to resources and technology for many cocoa farmers. Many cocoa farmers live in remote, rural areas with limited access to education, healthcare, and other essential services. This can make it difficult for them to improve their farming practices and increase their yields.

Climate change is also a major threat to cocoa farming, with rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns affecting the quality and productivity of cocoa crops. This is a major concern for cocoa farmers and the industry as a whole, and efforts are underway to develop cocoa varieties that are more resistant to these changes.

The expansion of cocoa farming has often led to deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats, causing significant environmental and social impacts. The destruction of natural habitats has been detrimental to the environment due to the loss of biodiversity, the disruption of ecosystem services, and the contribution to climate change. It has also h negative impacts on the social and economic well-being of local communities, which rely on forests for their livelihoods and cultural practices.

Efforts are underway to address the issue of deforestation in the cocoa industry, including through the promotion of sustainable cocoa farming practices and the development of certification programs that require cocoa producers to adhere to certain environmental and social standards. However, much work remains to be done to ensure that cocoa is produced in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible.

Human Rights Issues

Child labor and exploitation in the cocoa industry is a serious and complex issue that has garnered significant attention in recent years. Many children in cocoa-producing countries, particularly in West Africa, are forced to work long hours on cocoa farms under hazardous conditions, often for little or no pay.

Efforts are underway to combat this issue and promote child-labor-free cocoa, including through the implementation of programs that aim to educate farmers and provide them with alternative sources of income. However, addressing this issue is complex and requires the efforts of a range of stakeholders, including governments, cocoa companies, and civil society organizations. It is important for all those involved in the cocoa industry to work together to ensure that children are protected and that cocoa is produced in a sustainable and ethical manner.

In recent years, there has been a growing demand for sustainably grown cocoa, with consumers and chocolate companies looking for cocoa that has been produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. This has led to the development of various sustainability certification programs, such as the Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade International, which aim to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and protect the environment.

A Taste of Success: The Dedication and Determination of Cocoa Farmers

Despite the challenges, cocoa farmers around the world continue to work hard to produce high-quality cocoa for the global market. The cocoa industry also plays a vital role in supporting the economies of cocoa-producing countries, providing employment and income for millions of people.

So, the next time you enjoy a delicious chocolate bar or cup of hot cocoa, take a moment to appreciate the hard work and dedication of cocoa farmers around the world. Without their tireless efforts, we wouldn’t have this beloved treat to enjoy.

 


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January 2, 2023 BLOG0

Have you ever thought about how much food goes to waste on a daily basis? The truth is, it’s a staggering amount. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), approximately one-third of the food produced in the world is lost or wasted. That’s enough to feed the nearly 870 million people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition around the globe.

But it’s not just a problem for the hungry and malnourished. Food waste also has significant environmental impacts. When food waste ends up in landfills, it decomposes and releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. In fact, food waste is the third largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, after the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Alarming, right?

So, what can we do about it? Enter the food recovery hierarchy. This pyramid ranks the various strategies for managing food waste in order of priority, with the goal of reducing the amount of food waste generated and diverting as much of it as possible from landfills and incinerators.

At the bottom of the pyramid is source reduction. This involves preventing food waste from being generated in the first place. This can be achieved through a variety of strategies, such as improving forecasting and inventory management, reducing portion sizes, and encouraging consumers to take only what they can eat. By preventing food waste from being created in the first place, we can make the biggest impact on reducing the overall amount of food waste generated.

The next level of the hierarchy is feeding hungry people. Excess food can be donated to food banks, soup kitchens, and other organizations that can distribute it to people in need. This helps to alleviate food insecurity and ensures that surplus food is put to good use, rather than going to waste.

The third level of the hierarchy is feeding animals. Excess food can be used to feed livestock, pets, and other animals, which can help reduce the demand for other feed sources. This can be an especially important option in areas where there is a surplus of certain types of food that may not be suitable for human consumption.

The fourth level of the hierarchy is industrial uses. This includes using excess food as a feedstock for industrial processes, such as anaerobic digestion or composting. This can help to recover some of the energy and resources that were invested in the production, processing, and transportation of food.

At the fifth place in the hierarchy is composting which is an important component of the food recovery hierarchy, as it helps to divert food waste from landfills and incinerators and recover some of the valuable nutrients and energy that are contained in the food.

There are several ways to compost food waste, including home composting, community composting, and industrial composting. Home composting involves setting up a compost bin or pile in your backyard or garden and adding food waste, yard trimmings, and other organic materials to it. Over time, these materials will break down and decompose, producing compost that can be used to enrich soil and improve plant growth.

You may also want to read about: Navigating the Challenges of Climate Change in Agriculture: The Role of Biostimulants and Climate Smart Farming

Community composting involves setting up a central composting facility that is accessible to a group of people, such as a neighborhood or an apartment complex. Food waste is collected from these individuals and brought to the facility, where it is processed along with other organic materials to produce compost.

Industrial composting involves using large-scale composting facilities to process food waste and other organic materials. This is often done on a commercial scale, and the resulting compost is typically sold to farmers, landscapers, and other customers.

Composting is an effective way to reduce the amount of food waste that is sent to landfills and incinerators, and it can help to recover some of the valuable nutrients and energy contained in food. It is an important part of the food recovery hierarchy, and it can be implemented at various scales, from the individual home to the industrial level.

At the top of the pyramid are landfills and incineration. These should be the last resort, as they do not provide any environmental or social benefits, and can have negative impacts on air quality and climate change.

By following the food recovery hierarchy, we can significantly reduce the amount of food waste that is generated and ensure that it is managed in the most sustainable and beneficial way possible. So, the next time you’re about to toss that leftover food in the trash, think about how you can follow the food recovery hierarchy and positively impact reducing food waste.

You may also want to read about: Why Smallholder Farmers Always Get The Shorter End Of The Stick



December 15, 2022 BLOGVIDEOS0

Potatoes are one of the most versatile and widely consumed crops in the world. From French fries to potato chips to mashed potatoes, these starchy tubers are a staple in many diets. But did you know that the potato has a rich history and plays a crucial role in global agriculture?

Potatoes originated in the Andean region of South America and were first cultivated by the indigenous people of the area. The Incas considered potatoes to be a sacred food and even used them as a form of currency. In the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors introduced potatoes to Europe where they quickly became a popular crop due to their ability to grow in a wide range of climates and soil conditions.

Today, potatoes are grown in over 100 countries and are the fourth most important food crop in the world. In the United States, potatoes are the number one vegetable crop with over 1.1 million acres dedicated to their production. The majority of these potatoes are used to make processed foods such as chips and fries, but they are also used for animal feed and as a source of starch for industrial purposes.

One of the key factors that makes potatoes such a successful crop is their ability to adapt to different growing conditions. Potatoes can be grown in a variety of climates and soil types, from cold and wet regions to hot and dry ones. This allows farmers to grow potatoes in areas that are not suitable for other crops, making them an important food source in many parts of the world.

Another advantage of potatoes is their high yield potential. A single potato plant can produce multiple potatoes, making them a very efficient crop in terms of land use. Potatoes also require fewer inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides compared to other crops, which makes them more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Despite their many benefits, potatoes also face challenges. One of the biggest threats to potato production is the emergence of pests and diseases. Potatoes are susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases, such as the Colorado potato beetle and potato blight, which can cause significant damage to crops. To combat these threats, farmers rely on a combination of cultural practices, such as crop rotation, and chemical treatments.

In conclusion, potatoes are an essential food crop that has played a crucial role in global agriculture. Their versatility, adaptability, and high yield potential make them a valuable food source for many people around the world. Despite the challenges they face, potatoes continue to be a staple in diets and will continue to be an important part of the global agricultural landscape.


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December 10, 2022 BLOGRESEARCH0

Data has become increasingly important in the field of agriculture, as it can help farmers make more informed decisions about how to manage their crops and livestock. By collecting and analyzing data on factors such as weather, soil conditions, and pest populations, farmers can make more precise predictions about how their crops will grow, and take steps to optimize their yield.

One of the key ways that data is used in agriculture is through the use of precision farming techniques. These techniques involve the use of sensors and other technologies to collect data on a variety of factors that can affect crop growth, such as soil moisture levels, temperature, and sunlight exposure. This data is then used to create detailed maps of individual fields, which can help farmers identify areas that may need extra attention or resources.

For example, a farmer might use data to determine that a certain part of their field is particularly dry, and use that information to adjust their irrigation schedule accordingly. By doing so, they can help ensure that their crops receive the right amount of water at the right times, which can improve their overall health and yield.

In addition to helping farmers manage their crops more effectively, data can also be used to monitor livestock health and optimize feeding and breeding practices. For example, farmers might use data on an animal’s weight and feeding habits to determine the most efficient feeding schedule or use data on an animal’s genetic makeup to make more informed breeding decisions.

The need for farm-level analysis is reinforced by recent policy shifts in the agricultural sector. Many nations have shifted away from market intervention and general payments to farmers in favor of more effective measures that directly target specific objectives like low-income support, eco-services, and adopting technologies and practices that increase productivity, sustainability, and resilience.

Overall, the use of data in agriculture has the potential to greatly improve the efficiency and productivity of farming operations. By providing farmers with more precise information about their crops and animals, data can help them make better decisions and ultimately produce more food for an increasingly growing population.

Data opportunities in agriculture

In rural areas of the developing world, smallholder farmers are the largest employment sector and the most significant contributors to global food production. Family farms account for more than 90% of all farms worldwide; They manage 75% of the farmland and produce 80% of the food.

However, the development of worldwide food creation versus utilization and advancement of world demography shows that there are serious areas of strength for expanding yield. FAO highlights the following facts about the global situation regarding food security and nutrition:

  • Since 2015, there has been no reduction in the prevalence of hunger and malnutrition worldwide, which continues to affect nearly 11% of the population. This indicates that the total number of people experiencing hunger is rising.
  • Over 2 billion individuals “do not have regular access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food” in 2019.

Climate change is also having a significant impact on yields at the same time. Reports from various international research organizations show that rainfed maize yields in some parts of Africa could fall by as much as 25% by 2050 compared to levels in 2000. Working toward increasing yields is one of the most promising opportunities to address this multifaceted challenge.

Increasing farmers’ access to a wider range of services, such as trade services, financial services, and extension services, could close these gaps. Since it is anticipated that 85% of farmers’ households will have a mobile phone by 2025, these services can now be provided on a large scale through ICT. The combination of three services – access to finance, advisory services, and market linkages – can result in a 57% increase in farmers’ income and a 168% increase in yield as an illustration of this opportunity.

The most promising method for providing services on a large scale is through the use of ICT technologies; however, the content of these services and their capacity to provide accurate, actionable information or results depend on their capacity to aggregate various data sources.

The mash-up of global data such as satellite images, research studies, databases containing information about crops, seeds, pests, and diseases, etc. is where the majority of stakeholders find the design of the service at the farmer’s level (documentation of field ownership, credit records, etc.) and information based in the field (such as information about the soil, location, state of the fields, crops, etc.) to figure out the content (such as the right information to use when making a decision). Both the availability of new products to support farmers’ production (credit, insurance, etc.) are outcomes at the farmer level and the accessibility of current data to aid in decision-making.

Identifying important datasets related to farming crop cycles

Numerous datasets could be utilized to provide farmers with information and services. Some datasets may be useful at various points in the crop cycle, depending on the requirements. Market prices are an illustration of this. If market prices have a time series that shows how prices have changed recently over the past few years, they can be used to choose the crop to grow. Market prices are also useful during the selling stage, but for this dataset to be useful, the information must be nearly real-time. Obviously, some datasets are only available at the country level; however, other datasets, such as weather data or satellite images, may be available locally, regionally, or globally.

Data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML)

The generation of a substantial amount of data is made possible by the mashup of global datasets and farm-level data. The majority of services that have been made available to date have been fairly basic, involving the use of ICT to provide the service and human analysis of the data pertaining to a specific use case.

Future opportunities are provided by new methods, particularly Big Data, blockchain, data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. This includes predictive analysis like yield forecasts that will inform all actors in the value chain, from public authorities to traders, providing early warning of potential food security risks.

Increased data availability will make these future strategies feasible. The volume of data will grow exponentially, providing more opportunities for more advanced predictive automatic services, as farm-level data become more readily available, automatic data collection through, for example, sensors begin to spread at scale, and governments, international organizations, all actors, including the private sector, release more open datasets and increase access to big data streams. These services have a greater impact and are more long-lasting because they offer more added value at lower prices than the previous generation of ICT services. With the availability and growth of data science capabilities in almost every nation on the planet, the trend is evident and is likely to result in a new wave of services in the coming years.

The Potential of Big Data and IoT in Agriculture for Africa

The potential of big data and the internet of things (IoT) in agriculture is immense, particularly for the African continent. By harnessing the power of these technologies, African farmers can improve the efficiency and productivity of their operations, while also gaining access to valuable data and insights that can help them make better-informed decisions.

Big data refers to the vast amounts of data generated by various sources, including sensors, devices, and machines. This data can provide valuable information about various aspects of agriculture, including crop yields, soil health, weather conditions, and pest infestations. By analyzing this data, farmers can gain a better understanding of their operations and make more informed decisions about how to optimize their crops and maximize their yields.

The IoT, on the other hand, refers to the network of interconnected devices and sensors that can collect and transmit data in real-time. This technology can be used in agriculture to monitor and control various aspects of the farming process, such as irrigation systems, soil moisture levels, and crop health. By using the IoT, farmers can automate many of the tasks involved in agriculture and reduce the need for manual labor, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.

One of the key benefits of big data and the IoT in agriculture is their ability to help farmers make more accurate predictions about the future. By analyzing historical data and trends, farmers can make more informed decisions about when to plant and harvest their crops, as well as how to allocate their resources to maximize their yields. This can help farmers avoid potential losses due to unforeseen events, such as drought or pests, and ensure that their operations remain profitable.

Additionally, big data and the IoT can help farmers gain access to valuable market insights and information about the demand for their products. By using data analytics tools, farmers can track trends in the agricultural market and adjust their operations accordingly to ensure that they are producing crops that are in high demand. This can help farmers increase their revenues and improve the sustainability of their operations.

In conclusion, the potential of big data and the IoT in agriculture is vast, particularly for the African continent. By leveraging these technologies, African farmers can improve the efficiency and productivity of their operations, while also gaining access to valuable data and insights that can help them make better-informed decisions. This can ultimately help to drive economic growth and development in Africa, while also improving the livelihoods of farmers across the continent.

The future of big data and IoT in agriculture for Africa

The future of big data and IoT in agriculture for Africa is an exciting prospect that has the potential to revolutionize the industry and help alleviate food insecurity on the continent.

One of the key challenges facing agriculture in Africa is the lack of access to accurate and timely data. This can make it difficult for farmers to make informed decisions about their crops and livestock, leading to lower productivity and profitability.

However, the advent of big data and IoT technologies has the potential to change this. By using sensors, drones, and other IoT devices, farmers can collect and analyze real-time data on factors such as soil moisture, temperature, and plant health. This data can then be used to optimize irrigation, fertilization, and pest control, leading to more efficient and sustainable farming practices.

In addition, big data and IoT technologies can help improve supply chain management and reduce food waste. By tracking the movement of crops and livestock from the farm to the market, farmers and supply chain managers can better forecast demand and adjust production accordingly. This can help reduce food spoilage and waste, which is a major issue in many parts of Africa.

Furthermore, big data and IoT technologies can also help connect farmers with other stakeholders in the agricultural ecosystem, such as buyers, processors, and distributors. This can help create new market opportunities for farmers and improve access to finance and other resources.

Overall, the future of big data and IoT in agriculture for Africa is full of potential. By leveraging these technologies, farmers can improve their productivity and profitability, and help address the challenges of food insecurity and environmental sustainability on the continent.


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December 7, 2022 BLOG0

Feeding an expanding global population while simultaneously minimizing environmental impact and safeguarding natural resources for future generations is a major challenge for the agricultural industry.

The environment can be significantly impacted by agriculture. Agriculture can also have a positive impact on the environment, such as by trapping greenhouse gases within crops and soils or by mitigating flood risks through the adoption of specific farming practices. While these negative effects are serious and can include pollution and degradation of soil, water, and air, agriculture can also have a positive impact on the environment.

It is important to keep an eye on the connections that exist between agriculture and the environment, identify successful agricultural policies that enhance positive environmental impacts while reducing negative ones, and offer suggestions for enhancing policy coherence for the agricultural sector’s environmental performance.

Although the environmental impact of agriculture has improved, there is still much work to be done.

There have been some encouraging signs in recent years that the agriculture sector of African countries is capable of meeting its environmental challenges. However, there is still much work to be done. Agriculture’s impact on the environment has improved. In particular, farmers in numerous African nations have improved their utilization and management of nutrients, pesticides, energy, and water, resulting in lower input consumption per unit of land. Conservation tillage, improved manure storage, and soil nutrient testing are all examples of environmentally friendly farming practices that farmers have made significant progress adopting.

Despite these enhancements, there is something else to do, with a significant job for policymakers. In a number of African nations, nitrogen balances are declining, agricultural farmland is rapidly reducing, and the sector’s contribution to water use and contamination remains high in comparison to other uses. Farmers, policymakers, and the agro-food value chain players need to work together more to solve these enduring problems.

Additionally, raising the environmental and resource productivity of agriculture, improving land management practices, reducing pollution discharges, limiting damage to biodiversity, and strengthening policies that avoid the use of production and input subsidies, which tend to damage the environment, are all necessary to address the twin policy challenge of improving environmental performance while simultaneously ensuring global food security for a growing population.

Future policy decisions can be aided by monitoring and evaluating agriculture’s environmental performance.

Different private and public entities have developed recommendations on how to develop cost-effective agri-environmental policies, how to manage water issues for agriculture, and how to deal with climate change challenges in order to assist farmers in improving the sustainability of agriculture. There are also insights on the potential environmental impact of agriculture policies which have been developed by identifying possible policy misalignments and how to jointly address goals for productivity growth and sustainability.

Since agro-ecological conditions and public preferences vary from country to country, there is unlikely to be a “one-size-fits-all” solution for addressing environmental issues in agriculture. However, policymakers must have a thorough understanding of the links between policies and outcomes and the ability to measure them in order to evaluate and achieve better environmental outcomes at a lower cost.

To help this work and assist farmers with evaluating whether the arrangements they have set up are probably going to support efficiency and limit environmental harm, Eagmark is attempting to foster the development of agri-ecological markers (AEMs). In particular, the AEM database can be utilized for:

  1. Providing a snapshot of the agricultural environment’s current state and trends, which may necessitate policy responses;
  2. Elucidating the regions in which new environmental issues are emerging;
  3. Comparing performance trends over time, and helping farmers meet environmental targets, threshold levels, and standards where they have been set by the government.
  4. Evaluating and monitoring agricultural policies
  5. Anticipating future patterns.

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December 5, 2022 AGRI ECONOMICSBLOG0

The majority of people in sub-Saharan Africa reside in rural areas, which are also the areas with the lowest levels of human development. Growing agriculture has the dual benefits of reducing poverty in such areas and improving access to food and nutrition security because most rural households are agricultural in nature and the sector makes a significant contribution to the overall economy.

Given that agriculture is responsible for up to almost 70% of domestic employment and 75% of domestic trade on the continent, it makes sense to focus all support on the industry. Because agriculture was a vital sector for socioeconomic growth during Asia’s Green Revolution, widespread rural poverty in Africa offers a chance to do the same and build on that success.

The Bottlenecks

Despite the numerous opportunities for rural livelihood offered by agriculture, many young people, regrettably, find it unappealing and view it as the employment of last resort. This is due to two primary factors. First, many young people think agriculture is not glamorous, lucrative, or has “snub appeal.”

Second, due to a lack of appropriate facilities, institutions, and policies that support agriculture in rural areas, such as financial options and markets. As a result, rural-to-urban migration has increased, poverty has increased, and agriculture has remained undesirable and unattractive to youth. This scenario puts food security at risk and could collapse rural economies that rely mostly on agriculture. As a result, farmers are getting older on average and younger people are less likely to take over for older farmers, creating a “generation gap” in food production.

Because of their negative perception of agriculture, many young people prefer to move to cities and towns in search of white-collar jobs. This is the reason for the generation gap in agriculture. This makes a test for the mechanical headway of farming as more seasoned ages are less acquainted with new developments.

Prospects

Despite these challenges, there is a chance to make agriculture more appealing to the younger generation. Younger generations were born and raised in a technological era where they are surrounded by technologies like smartphones, software programs, and other devices that are used everywhere in the world. Africa presents an expansion opportunity because it has the most uncultivated land in the world. Through mechanization, market access resulting from regional integration, business opportunities, roads, and general rural development, agriculture can be made sustainable in light of a growing population, technological advancements like ICT, and the development of infrastructure.

Recommendation for the future

Making better use of agricultural technologies will make it easier for the next generation to manage agriculture. It will not only inspire the new generation to become involved in agriculture, but it will also assist them in becoming farmers. Furthermore, there is the need to change farming unrefined components into modern items and this will rely progressively upon the limit of African business visionaries to partake and contend in worldwide, provincial, and neighborhood esteem chains.

In order to accomplish this, it will be necessary to support agricultural start-ups with assistance from entrepreneurship development platforms. This will address the market and financial constraints that prevent young people from participating in the agriculture value chain. One methodology toward this path would incorporate business brooding administrations which will uphold youthful agribusiness business visionaries through the arrangement of direction in regions, for example, business arranging, giving research and development framework offices, model turn of events and testing, item approval, business advancement, and working with monetary help through obligation and value. This is in line with the United Nations’ statement that “Africa needs to embrace economic diversification, but also needs to focus on agribusiness to lift the continent out of poverty and put it on the path to prosperity.”

At the policy level, the role of youth in the agricultural development agenda on the continent needs to be emphasized once more. This will serve as the foundation for thinking about how to incorporate gender equality into the agricultural development processes on the continent to get policymakers to be more committed.

Despite organizations like Eagmark’s efforts to correct the imbalance, it is necessary to identify the key success factors and devise strategies for scaling them. Eagmark is actively pursuing means of aligning its implementation by consolidating and forging new programs on youth empowerment in light of the recent rollout of the Science Agenda for Africa Agriculture (S3A), which outlines the guiding principles to help Africa take charge of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) to transform its agriculture.


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October 15, 2022 BLOG0

With the growing global demand for food and nutritional needs, agriculture is fast adopting to the situation in most parts of the world and is entering a transformative era. Although the green revolution has been successful in feeding a rapidly growing human population in the past decades, it has also contributed to depletion of the Earth’s soil and its biodiversity, and has contributed to climate change. The intensive practices are no longer sustainable. The world must move swiftly to transform agriculture through regenerative agricultural practices.

Regenerative agriculture is a food production system that nurtures and restores biodiversity by enhancing soil health, protecting climate and water resources, and improves farms’ productivity and profitability. It combines sustainable agricultural innovations with conventional farming systems focusing on reducing the use of water and other inputs, preventing land degradation and deforestation.

Objective of regenerative agriculture

Most regenerative agricultural practices such as inter-cropping, agroforestry, and integrated livestock farming are mostly associated with indigenous farmers who work with the land rather than against it. These regenerative farming practices mainly focus on producing enough nutritious food for the world’s population, helping with climate change mitigation by sequestering carbon in soil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, restoration of endangered biodiversity and improving natural habitats, reducing deforestation., and enhancing farmer livelihoods.

1. Least soil disturbance

This principle involves the employing farming practices that minimize soil disturbance which have added benefits to the soil and the climate. The practice involves zero-till or use of reduced-tilling techniques to reduce its vulnerability to wind and water erosion, as well as degeneration of microbiome. Practicing minimum tillage enhances the soil’s ability to retain water, and improves crops performance and resilience during perennial droughts. Regenerative farming in this case involves planting seeds directly into the residue of the previous crop which contains more organic matter making it is less prone to erosion by wind or rainwater.

2. All Year-Round Farming

The practice involves growing of cover crops which provide all year-round plant coverage that prevents soil erosion and increases carbon inputs. Different crops are planted immediately after harvest, often alternating cash crops with cover crops protecting the top soil and increasing its moisture content through root penetration.

3. Diversifying crops in time and space

Practices such as crop rotation and inter-cropping, and agroforestry increases resilience, productivity, and diversity. Planting the same type of crops on the same field routinely degenerates the soil nutrients and encourages pests and weeds infestation. Regenerative agricultural practices such as rotating between nitrogen-fixing crops such as legumes and crops that highly use nitrogen like maize can greatly improve soil fertility.

4. Precision Farming

The application of inputs through data-enabled innovations based on observation, measurement and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops leads to minimum and optimal amounts of production inputs. Precision agriculture involves use of digital tools such as soil sensors to map out a detailed understanding of soil nutrient content and tailor application of fertilizers and other crop protection products.

5. Mixed Farming

Practicing mixed farming whereby livestock and crops are grown on the same farm can have tremendous improvement on soil health, fertility and structure. The integration of livestock into crop production while using practices such as managed grazing can transform plant material into rich organic matter through manure production which can help prepare the land for the next planting season.

Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative agriculture when widely adopted and practiced has a wide of long-term benefits including:

  • Increased yield & reduced deforestation.
  • Improved biodiversity.
  • Mitigated impact of extreme weather/climate.
  • Enhanced farm profitability.
  • Better nutrition and human health.
  • Enhanced nutrient management, water retention, and less greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Higher yields and increased food security.

What can be done to accelerate adoption and transition to Regenerative Agriculture?

The global population is estimated to reach 9.7 billion by mid-century while at the same time agriculture is currently facing increasing challenges from pests, diseases, effects of climate change and global warming, degraded land, vagaries of weather, among others. While modern farming has tried to feed the current global population of about 7.9 billion, there is still food insecurity and hunger that has plagued most parts of the developing world.

Food security is now a top priority in order to ensure the survival of the human race and to achieve these gains in the shortest time, more investment is needed to accelerate the widespread adoption of regenerative agricultural practices, something that will require heavy involvement of farmers, policymakers, and multinational agricultural companies.


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The 1st and 2nd Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are to end poverty and hunger by 2030. However, those goals now seem “out of reach,” according to a new World Bank Report that has revealed that the developments to fighting poverty has ground to a halt based on the slow global economic growth.

The slow global economic growth is majorly attributed to COVID-19 which dealt the biggest setback to ending global poverty in recent times and probably in the decades to come. Other contributions to this setback are the global economic shocks that have resulted due to rising food and energy prices as consequences of the climate shocks and conflict between Russia and Ukraine who are among the world’s biggest food producers.

This 2022 report is the first to be released by World Bank since it unveiled the new international poverty index from $1.90 to $2.15. With this, it is estimated that about 600 million individuals will be living below the poverty line and will face extreme poverty by 2030. This is a grim statistic since it is more than twice the number set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The projected rise in extreme poverty could lead to unprecedented global hunger, instability, less climate-resilient initiatives, and definitely low food production that will spur less and unsustainable economic growth.

The progress to reduce global poverty levels have staggered since 2014 resulting to even greater challenges in reaching out to populations in low-income economies. The 2022 World Bank Report further analyzes how fiscal policy was used in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic to support the most vulnerable populations. It also elaborates how taxes, transfers, and subsidies impacted poverty and inequality levels in 94 countries before the pandemic in 2020, revealing and comparing insights of the effects of fiscal policy in normal conditions and during crises.


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October 4, 2022 AGRO BIOLOGICALBLOG0

Video Credit: Morehead Planetarium & Science Center

The Competing Needs

In recent times, agricultural productivity has significantly declined due to a number of factors such as environmental degradation, negative effects of climate change and global warming, reduced size of arable land due to the growing population, competing demands for natural resources, soil degradation as a result of harmful human activities, among other factors. Soil is a critical mass that supports all life on earth and without it life on earth will not be feasible.

The Magic of Soil Microorganisms

Soil microbiome play a significant role in creating soil ecological balance and improving plant nutrition and the plants are part of a vibrant ecosystem that comprises numerous and different microbes that thrive in the soil. These microorganisms, including fungi and nitrogen-fixing symbiotic bacteria have been critical in contributing to crop health and yield by improving mineral nutrition to the crops. With the modern day advancements in research and innovations, it has now been discovered that these organisms also have other uses and can play a significant role in replacing synthetic agricultural inputs.

With utmost considering of the challenges that the agricultural sector is facing, advancing research into soil microbiomes could be one of the fundamental solutions that would create a significant impact in increasing agricultural productivity and sustainability in order to feed the growing world population that is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050. Coupled with the global climate crisis, the increasing population has spurred the demand for biofuels which must be produces in adequate quantities without reducing food production.

As it is now, the amount of arable land has reduced due to the soaring population and demand for natural resources. To compound the challenges, the available arable soils have been polluted with harmful chemicals, exhausted with over-cultivation and degraded through erosion. Continued use of fertilizers have also not had shown a great change in improving soil health since a considerable amount of these fertilizer nutrients have been shown to be poorly absorbed by crops. Therefore, advancing research for better understanding of soil microbes remains as part of the core initiatives to effectively improve soil health and efficiently increasing agricultural production minimal disturbance and harm to the ecosystem.

Race Against Time

Time is critical and the race to achieving a sustainable farming is highly dependent on how soon the foundation for deeper soil research will be laid to determine how soil microbiome affect the absorption and uptake of plant nutrients.


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Video credit: John Deere

From unmanned tractors to robots, drones, gadgets and AI/ML and big data, the agricultural industry is being transformed with the advent of digital revolution and 5G has everything to do with it.

With the current state of global food security and extreme hunger, agricultural sustainability is more critical now than ever and smart farming definitely plays a vital role in food crop production. The amalgamation of 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), big data and edge computing provides a powerful element which could forever change smart farming which can lead to agricultural transformation and increased food production.

Agriculture forms the backbone human survival, and yet currently the world is still at the crossroads with increasing food production to meet the global demand given the soaring population that is estimated to reach about 9.7 billion by the mid of the 21st century. With the current technological advancements witnessed globally, it’s dumbfounding that more than two decades into the 21st century farming in most parts of the world still remains largely labor-intensive. Thanks to the penetration of 5G in most parts of the world, farming as it is traditionally known is changing through the automation of the traditional manual labor, marking the advent of modern farming.

Resource Constraints & Challenges in Agriculture

A number of factors have continued to stifle advancement in agriculture to meet the food production needs of the 21st century. The cost of farming and production has been increasing due the high input prices, and increasing cost of other factors of production including labor. The demand for food and other agricultural products is rising while natural resources continue to diminish, and the effects of climate change continue to pummel.  Greenhouse gas emissions are leading to the rise in global temperatures, precipitation patterns are changing, and the infestation of pests, diseases and weeds have continued to reduce crop yields.

The Advent of Smart Farming & Agri-Tech

5G is the next generation of communication systems and is poised to transform agriculture as we know it. Telecommunication carriers are currently on the digital race to rollout high-speed data, 5G-compatible devices and gadgets in their portfolios and within no time 5G will part of our daily lives.

The role of 5G in agriculture cannot be underscored enough as it will increasingly automate the industry which will lead to production of more autonomous agricultural machinery and development of data-driven smart agricultural systems. Conglomerates are now racing against time to develop smart farming systems that can benefit from 5G, AI/ML and edge computing systems. The integration of 5G with other technologies will lead to further advancement of precision farming using customized, data-driven approaches to farm management to replace the traditional cumbersome approaches which lacked the ability to predict future changes in weather and climate patterns, soil nutrient changes and real-time relaying and sharing of data.

The Value of Agri-Tech & Smart Farming

Agri-Tech and Smart Farming play a vital role in making agriculture profitable by improving productivity through advancing precision farming – producing the required crops at the required times in the required amounts, improving yield and flavor per unit area, reducing input waste through data-driven applications, and realizing sustainable agriculture that is resistant to climate change, among other benefits.

Eagmark’s Vision for the Future of Agri-Tech & Smart Farming

Due to the diminishing farmland in Africa, agricultural production has been dwindling while the continent’s population is on a constant growth. Due to the growing number of challenges in agriculture, most individuals are now moving into other professions and this has resulted in a shortage of labor on farms. For the remaining farmers who are continuing to depend on the industry, there is an urgent need to provide them with assistance to meet these challenges.

Eagmark acts as a catalyst and has embarked on an advocacy mission for farmers and agribusiness owners to adopt smart farming and Agri-Tech innovations and inventions to address the issues in agriculture. Eagmark acknowledges the rising expectations for smart farming and is focused on researching the current global trends as well as working with industry giants to facilitate provision of precision agriculture that utilizes big data to improve the future of smart agriculture which will reduce farmers’ burden and achieve better productivity.

The Anticipated Contribution of 5G to Agri-Tech & Smart Farming

5G provides more advanced features that make it different from other past communications systems. These include ultra-high speeds as it is said to be 100 times faster than its predecessor 4G. Secondly 5G has ultra-low latency meaning that users can remotely control any gadget in real time without any delays or time lag allowing for monitoring and control of multiple agricultural machines and detection of individuals and objects in real time. 5G also allows multiple simultaneous connections between devices and other equipment. This will enable synchronized work by multiple agricultural machines in the field under one dependable remote monitoring and control system.


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The increase in price of fuel, including diesel, petrol and kerosene (all components of oil and natural gas) as proposed by Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has triggered jitters among Kenyans and the consequence will likely keep agricultural inputs at higher levels. The new pump prices will retail higher by Ksh.20.18 for super petrol, Ksh.25. for diesel and Ksh.20 for kerosene, respectively. The changes currently being witnessed in the way energy moves will not help our energy prices in the short term, obviously, and this will be compounded by the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine which will add pressure to agricultural input prices.

The new price changes by EPRA come a day after President William Ruto declared that a 50kg fertilizer bag will retail at Ksh.3,500 down from the current Ksh.6,500 beginning the week of 19th September 2022. However, the price of fertilizers like nitrogen, diammonium phosphate (DAP) and potash are typically influenced by energy markets. Fertilizer is very energy intensive and for nitrogen, the main input in natural gas, it will definitely soar. So, if the price of oil goes up and natural gas goes up, that tends to put an upward pressure on fertilizer prices. Despite the new anticipated subsidized fertilizer costs, the new proposed energy prices will most likely keep the cost of fertilizer upward in the long run.

READ: Global Fertilizer Markets Respond to Surging Energy Prices

Since the beginning of 2022, the price of fertilizer has continued to rise with nearly 50% following the previous year’s surge. The soaring prices are driven by a combination of factors, including surging input costs, supply disruptions caused by the market volatility.

The record-high input costs have not only been witnessed in Kenya, but also globally. In places like Europe, the rising natural gas prices has led to widespread production cutbacks in ammonia which is an important input for nitrogen-based fertilizers.  Similarly, the increasing prices of coal, the main feedstock for ammonia production in China production at some point forced fertilizer factories to reduce production, which contributed to the increase in urea prices. The higher prices of ammonia and sulfur resulted to the rise in phosphate fertilizer prices as well.

The situation as it presents itself can however be a double-edged sword for large-scale Kenyan grain farmers because it would likely cause an increase in both input and grain prices.


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The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas (GFDPA) reports that each year, approximately 40% of the food produced in Kenya goes to waste amounting to an estimated Ksh.72 billion (USD 654,545,448) a year. At the same time, approximately 36.5% of the population is food insecure. In 2020, Kenya faced the worst locust invasion it has experienced in 70 years, further increasing food insecurity up to 38%.

The Kenyan government has prioritized hunger reduction and food security in its national policy agenda. The Constitution provides that the government must take legislative and policy initiatives to progressively realize the right to food in Kenya. In 2011, Kenya adopted a National Food and Nutrition Security Policy to improve nutrition and the quality of food available to Kenyans. In 2017, Kenya adopted a National Food and Nutrition Security Policy Implementation Framework to implement the National Food and Nutrition Security Policy to ensure that everyone has access to affordable and nutritious food. Further, Kenya instituted Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda, which identify food security as a priority. Nonetheless, Kenya is yet to adopt a national law to promote food donation or prevent food loss and waste. Notwithstanding, Kenya holds initiatives to create awareness about food loss and waste and discuss the gaps in policy and implementation that are hindering progress in reducing food loss and waste. In 2017, Kenya hosted the first ever All Africa Post-Harvest Congress. In 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries participated in the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. In addition to the government-led responses to food loss and waste, private sector actors including food banks are actively promoting food rescue and donation of surplus food to mitigate hunger and food insecurity.

KENYA FOOD DONATION POLICY HIGHLIGHTS

DATE LABELING: Kenya’s date labeling scheme is set out in the Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances (Food Hygiene) Regulations, 1978, the Specification of Products to Be Marked with Last Date Sale, 1988, the Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances (Food Labelling, Additives and Standards) Regulations and the Labelling of Pre-packaged Foods – General Requirements under the FDCSA. The Labelling of Prepackaged Foods – General Requirements establish a dual date labeling scheme for prepackaged foods, which distinguishes between safety-based and quality-based labels. Specifically, the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods – General Requirements require all pre-packaged foods to feature either a “date of minimum durability” also expressed as “best before” date, or a “use-by” date also expressed as the “recommended last consumption date” or “expiration date,” depending on the type of food product.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: Despite aligning with the best practice of having standard labels for quality versus safety as provided in the 2018 update to the Codex Alimentarius General Standard for the Labeling of Prepackaged Foods. None of the regulations governing date labeling in Kenya expressly permit past-date donation of food with a quality date. Kenya should amend the Labelling of Pre-packaged Foods – General Requirements under the Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances Act to explicitly permit the donation of food after the quality-based date. In addition, the government could promote education and awareness on the meaning of date labels.

KENYA FOOD DONATION POLICY OPPORTUNITIES

TAX INCENTIVES AND BARRIERS: Kenya’s Income Tax Act (Cap. 470) does not provide any incentives for in-kind donations, such as donations of food. The Income Tax Act only allows corporate and individual donors to claim a deduction for any cash donation of income to a registered qualifying charitable organization. Further, for most commercial transactions, including the sale of food, vendors must incorporate VAT. Kenya’s VAT system provides two categories of exceptions to taxable supplies that directly impact food products, which is exempt and zero-rated supplies. Certain foods in Kenya are exempt or zero-rated, while some food products are both exempt and zero-rated.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: To ensure businesses (both donors and distributors) receive proper tax incentives and sufficient information to participate in food donation, the Kenyan government should expand Kenya’s Income Tax Act’s income tax deduction to include in-kind donations to food recovery organizations. As an alternative, the government could offer tax credits for food donations made to food recovery organizations and intermediaries. In addition, Kenya should categorize food donation as a zero-rated supply under the Value Added Tax Act and provide a tax deduction for activities associated with the storage, transportation and delivery of donated food. Lastly, the Kenyan government could develop tax guidance for food donors and food recovery organizations clarifying exemptions.

FOOD SAFETY FOR FOOD DONATIONS: In Kenya, food safety laws are mostly contained in the Public Health Act (PHA) and the Food, Drugs, and Chemical Substances Act (FDCSA). While the PHA and FDCSA do not explicitly include food donation in its scope, existing food safety rules are broad in scope and presumably apply to food donations. However, food donations are not explicitly mentioned in law or guidance.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: Kenya should amend the Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances Act (FDCSA) to feature a donation-specific chapter or draft regulations related to the FDCSA that elaborate on food safety for donations. The Kenyan government could also produce and disseminate clarifying guidance on food safety requirements relevant to donation.

LIABILITY PROTECTION FOR FOOD DONATIONS: Kenya does not provide explicit legal protections for food donors and food recovery organizations. Generally, claims of harm arising from goods, including food may be brought under the Competition Act and the Consumer Protection Act.

Report courtesy of the Global Food Donation Policy Atlas (https://atlas.foodbanking.org/).

Download Full Report HERE.





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