@van So how will a farmer in the rural area make use of big data?
Sir, can you please classify the different types of data this is of utmost importance to farmers with reference to climate smart Agriculture
How can data be easily accessible by these farmers?
How can Farmers interpret or understand the interpretations of such data to useful information
@Bangura on the climate side there are a suite of tools that can be used to de-risk farm operations around agriculture - it’s important to look at historical analysis to understand issues like rainfall patterns, drought tolerance, and tools like NDVI analysis can be helpful to better understand field health. Additionally, and what sometimes gets loss is that conservation agriculture implements are very helpful given the sensitivities that exist when working in climate stressed environments. However, procurement of those tools is often a challenge for farmers and so having an understanding of the demand for those tools can be really helpful and that’s the type of analysis that companies like Hello Tractor can capture. A good resource to begin discussion of data sources in the climate space is to look at the indicators that are tracked by the FAO and then looking at commercial applications by layering in insights from organizations like ClimateCorp that put these in commercial use.
Data? I don’t think this topic is applicable to any farmer in this part of the world. We’re more with agro inputs and financing or various crops to improve our yields.
Exactly! You are right. How can this data be easily accessible by farmers in such a way that it feels physical?
Given the overwhelming importance of data in modern-day planning and decision-making, it is frightening to realise how vast the information vacuum is, especially in policy-making, with regards to what we know about food security, land ownership, land use patterns and the smallholder farming sector in Nigeria and Africa at large.
@Khrisbukz the power of big data is especially important for driving prediction. Based on real time variables and using historical pattern recognition, farmers in places like Kaduna could get access to advice and resources that potentially address their specific maize growing conditions. However, the challenge is that for big data to really take hold there is a desperate need for more data to flow into the system. More data needs to be captured at the field level then is currently the case. Algorithms have to be trained and that takes data. By having more farmers consent to using tools and monitoring their field conditions we can build more robust tools that will deliver value for the farmer.
@Janet one of the ways to drive access is to use network effects. Having communities like agricsquare and empowering those that are tech savvy like those that are young is a good way to drive information to more and more people.
I believe "information vacuum” is “a source of great concern as the government, despite its political commitment to smallholder agriculture, lacks reliable data on how many ‘smallholders’ exist at present, where they are farming, what types of production they are engaged in, their productivity, and which markets they supply”.
When you say Data what do you mean
@jitsegok the inputs that actually produce results on the land were built with often years of research behind them to address conditions like pest resistance or soil nutrient deficiencies. Data drove those developments. I believe that it’s not purely about the “numbers” but the insight that you can get from them. If there is information that says that Farmer’s A 2 ha plot is more likely to be nitrogen deficient than Farmer B’s 3 ha plot that is information that Farmer A should note when going to his/her local input shop.
@joyceama leverage the power of people and stories. A long string of numbers is great for a scientist in a lab but not applicable for a famer in the field who has only a few days to capture the power of the rains to make decisions. There is research going on right now to figure out how to make the information gathering more natural through machine learning and through AI advancements that can be accessible through even SMS. Farmer will reap the benefits of these tools even smaller ones but it’s more likely that these tools will start with the larger farms. A great way to drive insights is through aggregation which organizations like FarmCrowdy having a role to play there.
@Bangura exactly and a great way to approach that is for the young famers (<40 years old) to embrace the power of technology and start logging what they can and sharing information. What government may be slow to do, the individual and the collective can better achieve. A community like agricsquare is a great place to start. There are farmer forums in the UK for example that I frequently go to to learn from.
Thanks everyone for your time. If you have any questions or just want to chat feel free to reach out.
So what is the future of small holder farmers as regards data?