West African Forum Focuses on Precision Agriculture Solutions for Smallholder Farmers
The Forum was co-organized with the University of Cape Coast where participants gathered from across West Africa to discuss opportunities and challenges related to the adoption of precision agriculture technologies.
Benguérir, Morocco — 5 March, 2020 — During the West African Forum on Precision Agriculture (WAFPA), held on the campus of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Ghana on 11-12 February, 2020, discussions centered around the current state of precision agriculture (PA) within the West African region. PA experts from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo presented detailed reviews for their respective countries, which set the stage for a strategic discussion on opportunities, challenges and mechanisms needed to move towards “innovative, information-driven, transformative solutions for the West African smallholder farmer.”
“We want to change the commonly held mindset that PA practices are out of the reach of smallholder farmers because they lack mechanization and some of the technology commonly used by larger-scale farmers,” explained Dr. Steve Phillips, principal scientist at APNI. “PA can begin by making simple observations while spending time in the field. Observing how spatial and temporal data vary in a cropping system informs a better decision, which can increase crop yield and profitability for the farmer.”
UCC Coordinator for the WAFPA program, Prof. Kwame Agyei Frimpong, noted that “PA enables farmers to tailor input application including fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, among others according to the needs that were based on the differences in the field.” He called on smallholder farmers to embrace precision agriculture so as to be abreast of best farming practice in the world and noted that it would save them money and time.
Some strategies within PA may prove essential to the sustainability of West African agriculture in the face of increasing pressure and risk related to climate change. The results of this forum will guide PA projects, research and capacity building, that APNI will facilitate or lead in the region.
The WAFPA 2020 program and presentations are now available to download from the forum’s website www.apni.net/WAFPA. Please follow APNI for updates on future activities and outputs related to the development of PA within Africa.
About the African Plant Nutrition Institute
The African Plant Nutrition Institute is a not-for-profit research and education organization based in Benguérir, Morocco with additional offices located in Settat, Morocco; Nairobi, Kenya; and Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire. APNI’s mission is to innovate plant nutrition through evidence-based practices for a resilient and food-secure Africa.