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7 Amazing Apps for Better Farm Management

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In this digital era, smartphones and the apps we have access to from the App Store are making our lives easier, and boosting productivity.

There’s an app for everything. Need to see a movie? There’s Netflix. Need to do some shopping? There’s Ebay. Need to fall asleep to the sound of rainfall? There’s Relax Rain. But how about when you need to manage farming and other agricultural activities? Is there an app for that? Yes, there are many farm apps and here are just a few of them:

1. Farmcrowdy App:

The farmcrowdy app is a farm app that allows you to literally carry your farm with you wherever you go.

To be a digital farmer and start using the app to manage your farms, all you need to do is select a farm of choice and sponsor as many units of that farm type as you want. The app also sends updates and progress reports and at the end of the farm cycle, you get paid your initial sponsorship and returns after harvest.

This innovative technology has created a hassle-free farming platform while also impacting the lives of rural farmers across the country.

The app already has over 80,000 + downloads with good reviews. You can earn profits farming from your home with the Farmcrowdy mobile app.

2. IDWeeds:

Weed infestation is one of the worst nightmares of a farmer especially if they have no idea what kind of weed it is. Not knowing makes it difficult for the farmer to know what measures to take to counter the weed. However, with IDWeeds, the solution is just an app away.

IDWeeds is available to the people of Missouri. IDWeeds contains information on over 430 weed species that can be found in gardens, lawns, and other areas. To identify the type of weed, you will be required to enter details like leaf type, leaf color, and root system of the weed inside the app.

3. SoilWeb:

A farmer can have the best seeds and the best farming equipment but still end up making poor decisions, why? Because the soil is very important and you need to understand the soil type before you plant. Luckily, there’s an app that can tell you this.

SoilWeb uses your phone’s GPS to let you know what soil type you’re standing on. Information such as the soil type, taxonomy, land classification, flood ratings and organic matter will all be shown in the app to enable you make better planting decisions.

4. Agripredict:

When farming, some disasters such as droughts, diseases, and pest infestations can affect farming activities and lead to losses. Zambians have developed an app which can avoid this.

Agripredict was started in Zambia and is the winner of the 2018 #HackAgainstHunger competition. The app, through photos taken, can detect the presence of pests and diseases. Being able to detect threats to farming influences farm management decision.  Isn’t that wonderful?

The app can also forecast the probability of pest invasion and also predict the possibility of adverse weather conditions. The app also uses diverse data sources and sensors to forecast yield. This helps farmers estimate expected yield from a specific plot of farmland.

Also Read Interview With Sanne Steemers, A Dutch Chocolate Entrepreneur Connecting Europe And Africa

5.Pocket Rain Gauge:

Information regarding rainfall is a crucial part of farm management. Rain affects the soil and farmers need to know how to measure the amount of rainfall in an area in order to make more informed planting decisions.

The Pocket rain gauge gives location – specific rainfall measurements and is updated every hour and reflects the previous 24 hours. It also makes it possible for farmers and home gardeners to share their feedback along with accurate rainfall measurements.

6.Yara ImageIT:

Plants need nitrogen, and in the right quantity. Too much or too little could be detrimental so how can a farmer know how much nitrogen a crop requires?

Enter YaraImageIT

This app is designed to measure the nitrogen intake in a crop and generate a nitrogen recommendation based on the photographs of the crop. Based on leaf cover, and other factors such as an estimated fraction of brown leaves, the app calculates nitrogen uptake for the app.

The app shows the user how much nitrogen to apply, crop quality, and also provides fertilizer recommendations. Isn’t it amazing how much information regarding a crop can be gotten just from its photograph?

7. Hay Day:

Sometimes, learning about farm management can come from simply playing knowledge-based games. One of such games is HayDay. This game allows you to take the role of a farmer that oversees the management of farmland; grow crops, plants trees, take care of animals etc.

These are just a few of the apps that make farm management easier. What apps are you using? Share in the comment section below.

 

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Agriculture

Letter to a Farmer

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Wheat Farmer (shutterstock)

Dear Farmer,

You are my hero. You might think your life is mundane, perhaps even redundant, however for millions like me on the outside looking in, you are extraordinary.

For many of us who are not farmers, we drive past your swaying fields and hum about spacious skies and kernels of corn.

You till the soil from morning till night. Waking up every day to ensure the labour of your hands is coming to fruition. You are the epitome of hard work and determination and although that may sound cliche, it is true.

Farmer, you are indeed wonderful. You plant seeds in the soil and watch them grow. You help to build nations and communities both at home and abroad.

Although policies remain in place to stifle your trade or limit the way you import and export goods, you stay committed to your trade and it’s robust returns.  

For the days, months and years that you toil, for the food you give and for the way you inspire millions around the world, I say thank you. 

Please don’t let anyone tell your story, especially those who have no idea what it’s like to produce their best work.

If many of us could work from dusk to dawn, then receive one-fourth of the money that the crop was worth only a year ago, we would not last in our professions.

I doubt most of us would stay in our trades if we received one-fourth pay for our best efforts. 

Thank you for your dedication and contribution to society. Thank you for making the world a better place. Your commitment needs to be emulated by many.

Hopefully, you would pass the torch of your excellence to the younger generation and give them a chance to fill the fields with robust crops and produce.

Your work reminds us that farming is indeed the essential work that needs to be done. 

Sincerely,

A loyal consumer. 

Also Read: Interview With Deborah Ogwuche, Founder Of Food Channel Africa

By Sughnen Yongo


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Agriculture

Getting women in the driver’s seat of Africa’s agribusiness revolution

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Monica Musonda, CEO Java Foods shares a joke with colleague as they package Supa Cereal Bags (Photo: AfDB)

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 25, 2019- Monica Musonda, CEO of Zambian food processing company Java Foods,  certainly faced hurdles in her rise to the top, but she overcame them.

“Although the barriers to entry for women can be frustrating, they are often basic and relatively easy to resolve,” she said, playing down her struggles. “My climb up the agribusiness ladder has been challenging but definitely worthwhile.”

Musonda, whose company produces affordable and nutritious food snacks made from local ingredients, is one of just a handful of female agripreneurs who have successfully broken through the proverbial glass ceiling in Africa’s agribusiness industry.

Women are the backbone of Africa’s agricultural sector. From farm to fork, African women are players along the entire agricultural value chain, be it as farmers, livestock breeders, processors, traders, workers, entrepreneurs or consumers. While their influence on the continent’s growing agribusiness industry is undeniable, more solutions are needed to address the gender-specific challenges they face to boost their participation.

The average African woman is a budding entrepreneur either by choice or by circumstance. According to the  Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report 2016/17, the continent has the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs in the world, with one in four women starting or managing a business. The agribusiness industry is often the natural focus of this entrepreneurial drive.

Across the continent, women dominate as primary processors post-harvest, as traders with bustling market stalls, as owners of fast food restaurants and with increasingly frequency as manufacturers of packaged ready-to-eat food products. Yet despite this dynamism, female-led agribusinesses tend to remain small, fragmented and informal in nature. They struggle to sustain and scale-up their agribusinesses into well-organized profitable enterprises.

Admittedly, the challenging business environment in many African countries including poor infrastructure and unreliable legal and regulatory systems affects all business activities of both men and women. However, in addition women-led businesses must also grapple with a number of gender-specific constraints, inhibiting their expansion into more lucrative market segments.

Firstly, African women often lack the technical know-how.  Despite the gains in female education on the continent, highly productive agribusinesses require specialized vocational and technical skills in fields such as food safety, food conservation, packaging and product certification which many African women do not readily possess.

Access to finance is the most frequently cited obstacle by African SMEs. Women entrepreneurs face multiple difficulties in securing funding mainly due to lack of collateral in the form of land and other tangible assets and a high-risk perception. According to the African Development Bank, an estimated $42 billion financing gap exists for African women across business value chains, including $15.6 billion in agriculture alone. Women are forced to rely on personal savings and family loans which are rarely enough to fund their businesses to scale.

Thirdly, socio-cultural barriers and stereotypes persist. African women remain the primary caregivers in families meaning that managing those responsibilities while growing a thriving business can become a difficult balancing act.

Over the last two decades, many governments and development institutions have rolled out programs to promote access to finance, agricultural inputs and provide technical support and business training to female agripreneurs. The African Development Bank recently set up the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), a bold pan-African initiative to bridge the financing gap facing women. It adopts a three-pronged approach centered on improving access to finance, providing technical assistance and strengthening the enabling environment.

It often takes very little to make a difference. The capital injection required by the majority of female led SME agribusinesses on the continent is typically less than $50,000. And women have consistently proven to be more credit-worthy than men, usually paying back loans within agreed timeframes. Successful solutions by women for women such as microfinance and saving groups, peer-to-peer training and information sharing should also be reinforced and taken to scale.

More of such initiatives are urgently needed across the continent. Solutions must be based on in-depth engagement with the women business owners themselves to properly understand their frustrations and needs. Tailored programs designed to specifically address these pain points are critical. The Global Gender Summit is a timely opportunity to drive this forward.

Women are central for Africa’s agricultural transformation to be successful, sustainable and inclusive. More African female agripreneurs must be supported to grow and progressively transition into the business segments of agricultural value chains which are most profitable. It has been proven time and time again that when African women thrive the entire society shares in those dividends.

Also Read: Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

By: Mariam Yinusa and Edward Mabaya are Principal Economist and Manager, respectively, in the Agribusiness Development Division of the African Development Bank.

African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

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Agriculture

These Agricultural Businesses Do Not Involve Farming

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Agriculture is one of those vocations that has received a lot of buzz lately. Not only are Millennials increasingly becoming aware of the fact that a career in agriculture can be rewarding both socially and otherwise, but there are also a lot of resources that are becoming available to people about agriculture and its diverse branches. Here are five careers in agriculture that you can get involved in. It is important to know that these don’t require getting your hands dirty with any farming at all. Depending on you live in, some of these careers may be more lucrative than others, but here are some ideas:

Agriculture Blogger

With so many platforms such as Quora, WordPress, Medium, and varying social media platforms, writing has become a necessary skill, especially in the information age. Although it takes a long time to make money from a blog, an agricultural company that genuinely wants to get its message across to the world needs a good copywriter, someone who can document the beauty of agriculture in all of its glory. If you already work for an ag-based business, consider asking for more earning power by honing your writing skills even if you haven’t learned the art. If you can prove yourself as a talented writer in the agriculture industry, there are numerous opportunities out there to make money.

Landscaping Service

 Landscaping does take a lot of time and hard work. Although it is not the most idyllic form of agriculture, it is possible to make a lucrative living from mowing lawns, for example. Although not many people enjoy the art of mowing lawns, if you get proficient at it and have the right equipment, it is possible to minimize expenses and grow from there. If you’re looking for a place to specialize, there might be potential there. This is another one where you can start very small, and with some hard work and with creative marketing, you can scale into a real business!

Pest Control Specialist. 

Farmers find that among the most nagging issues that they face is the infestation of pests on heir farmland. Many large-scale farmers are more than happy to pay pest control specialists to assist them with taking care of the pests that may plague their farms. Perhaps you have a specific pest problem in your area that you can help solve for local landowners. It may be very well worth the effort.

Agric Education

There is a vast demand for workers with knowledge specific to Urban Agriculture. Many farmers offer tours as a way to supplement their income; however, few of them provide education on how to grow. Everyone is looking for something to do on evenings and weekends. If you can put together an exciting presentation to show people how they can grow at home — they will buy equipment, nutrients, and replacement parts from you. You could also take it one extra step further and sell rooted plants and seeds as well.

Consulting

Consulting and designing systems for restaurants and commercial businesses. Firms that agric-focused have been a lucrative form of income for a few years. Most of these businesses usually involve selling a shipping container that is pre-configured to grow. It is a complicated feat, but not an impossible one to start. A more challenging route, on the other hand, would be to design and install systems for residential use.

Also Read Interview With Deborah Ogwuche, Founder Of Food Channel Africa

Agriculture shouldn’t be restricted to the soil only. There are many ways to get involved with Agriculture either as a side gig or a full-time hobby. In fact, many people retire to agriculture-based careers these days. Are you thinking of breaking into the agricultural sector? Which track would you follow? Leave your comments in the comment section below!

By: Sughnen Yongo/farmcrowdy

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