Smart farming not an option but necessity – Haritatos

GOVERNMENT must work hand in hand with research institutions, private sector and international organisations to develop affordable technologies and provide financial incentives for farmers to adopt smart farming practices that will capacitate them to withstand climate change challenges.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos said this at the annual smart farming indaba held in Harare recently. It was running under the theme ‘Smart farming to alleviate the effects of El Nino-induced drought, to boost productivity and ensure food security.’

He said in addition to technological advancements, it was also crucial to invest in the education and training of farming communities to enlighten them on the importance of smart agriculture in the face of the growing climate change threat.

Dep Min Haritatos added that by fostering collaboration, it was easy to consolidate resources, share knowledge and amplify the impact of the collective efforts to build a resilient and sustainable agriculture sector.

“Smart farming is not just an option, it is a necessity and the path towards a future where our farmers thrive, our communities flourish and our nation’s food security is unassailable,” he said.

Smart farming is fast emerging as a one of the key measures to help farmers cope with the increasing threats posed by El Nino-induced droughts and enhance food security. It is widely seen as an innovative solution for sustainable agricultural development.

“We are all aware that El Nino-induced droughts have become more frequent and severe over the years, posing increasing threats to our food production systems. As we confront the harsh realities of climate change, it becomes abundantly clear that some of our current farming practices are no longer sufficient. We now need to consider smart farming,” explained Dep Min Haritatos.

The agriculture sector has been on the receiving end of these challenges making it imperative for the country to embrace innovative solutions such as smart farming to ensure the resilience and sustainability of the food production systems.

“Smart farming encompasses a wide range of strategies, technologies, and initiatives that leverage on cutting-edge innovation to optimise resource utilisation, reduce negative environmental impact, and maximise yields and by integrating technology into agriculture. We can monitor and manage our farms in real-time, make data-driven decisions and implement precision farming techniques that minimise waste and enhance efficiency,” Dep Min Haritatos explained.

He highlighted key strategies in smart farming, which included the adoption of precision irrigation systems, which minimise water wastage and optimise usage by delivering the right amount of water to crops at the right time. Dep Min Haritatos also hinted at the integration of climate-smart practices, which involve the use of resilient crop varieties and advanced monitoring systems such as drones to enhance resilience, soil fertility and crop yields and management for sustainable agriculture.

“These technologies empower farmers with knowledge and enable them to make informed decisions, mitigate the impact of drought and leads to increased productivity and food security,” he commented.

The Government is committed to providing farmers with the necessary training and support to embrace the innovations confidently as the adoption of smart farming practices requires a shift in mind set and skills.


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