Digital technology is revolutionizing agriculture in Africa (picture @CTAflash)

These solutions developed by young African startups are supported by various institutions including FAO which contributes to their popularization.

These applications are also the best bait to attract youth (60% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa that is 1.2 billion people) in search of gainful employment to focus on the agricultural sector.

Drones

Some estimates think that in the next 5 years, food and agriculture sector will be the world's second largest user of drones. FAO has already used drones in many countries to collect detailed real-time data on food and agriculture challenges, such as the risk of natural disasters and the assessment of the damage they have caused.

FAMEWS Application (Fall Armyworm Monitoring and Early Warning System).

The fall armyworm is an insect that wreaks havoc on corn and other important crops in parts of America, Africa and Asia. Knowing that only farmers can properly manage the monitoring of this pest in their fields, FAO has developed a tool to capture the data they capture while working in the field.

The information inserted in the application is transferred to a global web-based platform and analyzed to produce real-time status reports, calculate infestation levels, and propose measures to reduce their impact.

Nuru application

With FAMEWS, FAO and the Pennsylvania State Unit have developed a complementary speaking application, called Nuru, which, when held near a damaged plant, can immediately confirm if the damage has been caused by the fall armyworm.

Nuru application combines "machine learning" and artificial intelligence. It works with a standard Android phone and can also be used offline. In addition to English, Nuru will soon be available in French, Swahili and Twi and is constantly learning new languages so that it can be understood and used by farmers in other countries or regions.

Nuru will soon be connected to the FAMEWS application, in which all data will be validated by National Focal Points on the Fall Armyworm, and stored on a global web-based platform.

Abalobi application

Abalobi, which means "small fisherman" in Xhosa language, is a mobile application that allows small-scale fishers to record data on their catches (species, dates and locations, fishing method, selling price).

All this information is stored in the application and made available to other artisanal fishermen. There are currently 30,000 artisanal fishermen living along the coast of South Africa living solely from this activity, which straddles commercial and subsistence fisheries. Through self-generated fishery data, they contribute to build community resilience, particularly in the face of climate change.

Agricultural Services Applications

Four new applications provide farmers with real-time services in the form of information on weather, livestock care, markets and nutrition. The application on the weather and the cultural calendar combines information on weather forecasts and crop plans, and contains an early warning service on potential risks.

The application on livestock care and feeding helps reduce losses by providing information on animal disease and livestock feeding strategies.

AgriMarketplace app allows farmers to obtain more accurate supplier information for their purchases of raw materials, where to sell their products, and on market prices.

e-Nutrifood provides recommendations to rural people on the production, conservation and consumption of nutritious foods.

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