The theme for this year’s (2019) National Science Day is ‘Science for the people and People for the science’. Agriculture which provides about 22 percent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP), and employs nearly 50 percent of the population is mainly driven by science from Green revolution to today’s biotechnology aided breeding development. So, the theme rightly synchronizes with Agriculture, where Science and Technology has lead to sustainable large scale farming, rural upliftment and agrarian livelihood and farmer empowerment.
Towards Sustainable Farming
Technology has revolutionized the path of agriculture towards more eco-friendly manners such as; Conservation Agriculture with minimum soil disturbance and Integrated farming system by accommodating more enterprises like rice paddy with fisheries, Integrated pest and disease management that reduces chemicals by relying more on biological management.
Besides altering the existing farming methods, it introduces several new scientific applications to solve agrarian problems. Nanotechnology is one such tool that helps agricultural reduce its environmental footprint and could make farming in deserts possible. Nano-fertilizers like nano-zinc particles enhances efficient delivery and control of nutrients to crops, thus preventing the washing of excess fertilizers into water bodies. Another exciting development is Nano-pesticides: this technology allows for an enhanced effect on targeted pests by controlled release of toxic molecules. Further, smart monitoring using nano-sensors mitigate biotic and abiotic stresses.
Another tool shaping the future of agriculture is Plant Biotechnology in particular Genetic Modified Organisms (GMO). Just like our ancestors domesticated wild plants to meet their food demands, genetically engineered food is a novel, highly efficient and sustainable method which is been adopted to rapidly derive better plants which could feed the ever-growing population under rapidly decreasing cultivable land and changing climatic conditions therefore ensuring food security in future.
Farm mechanization has increased productivity and profitability of agriculture, from production to storage and processing. Farmers are also increasingly adopting micro-irrigation systems, drones/UAVs, satellites and precision farming implements for site-specific nutrient management. Smart agriculture is increasingly been adopted by farmers. A game-changing example is FarmKonnect’s own solutions which include a Directory that helps one locate Agri-Businesses and Farm produce in a particular location and the Distress app, a platform to seek the help of others when you encounter a puzzling situation on your farm.
Finally, just like every other aspect of our lives, Big Data in conjunction with Internet of Things (ioT) and Artificial intelligence is anticipated to deliver a huge impact on farming in the coming years: from Yield prediction to Risk management, Food safety and spoilage prevention and Operation/equipment management, the role of data analytics cannot be over-emphasized
Every farmer has a goal for their operation. Some of the more commonly cited are around improving profitability and efficiency, reducing the cost of an operation or increasing product value. To achieve each goal, farmers must make better decisions and embrace new advancements in science and technology