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Precision farming for African Smallholders

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Precision farming for African Smallholders

  1. 1. Precision farming for African Smallholders Johanna Wetterlind johanna.wetterlind@slu.se Departement of Soil and Environment
  2. 2. Precision agriculture "Precision Agriculture is a management strategy that takes account of temporal and spatial variability to improve sustainability of agricultural production." Site-specific farming
  3. 3. • Natural variation – Climate – Soil type – Topography – … • Variation due to management – Farm type – Fertilisation strategies – … Growing conditions vary water organic matter nutrients pH climate resources
  4. 4. • Natural variation – Weather/climate – Soil type – Topology – … • Variation due to management – Farm type – Fertilisation strategies – … Sweden Kenya Growing conditions vary water organic matter nutrients pH climate resources
  5. 5. Growing conditions vary 20 ha Plots with 0 nitrogen fertilisation.
  6. 6. Matching input to crop demand is the key Example of nitrogen fertilisation to winter wheat. Delin & Stenberg. 2014. Europ. J. Agronomy 52, 291–296
  7. 7. How to get all the information needed? • Too expensive with a lot of traditional soil and crop analysis. • Crop and soil sensors – Remote sensing – Proximal sensing
  8. 8. Precision agriculture for African smallholders
  9. 9. Variations in growing conditions, scale field – farm - village • Natural variation • Variation due to management Tittonell et al. 2016. Advances in Soil Science – Fertility decreases with distance from homestead Fields close to the home receives inputs of carbon and nutrients. – Reduced fertility in fields close to the homestead compared with more remote fields Labor and animal manure are limiting The variation causes variations in fertilisation response.
  10. 10. Challenges • Lack of information – on site-specific nutrient requirements – on the PA, often lack of established agronomic service providers • Lack of resource – Access to input – Access to technology and machinery • Government recommendations on resource use often do not recognize existing local variation.
  11. 11. Opportunities To recognise and understand the causes of variations in soil fertility and crop growing conditions is fundamental in order to • increased recourse use efficiency, and • possibilities to increase fertilizer response and yields.
  12. 12. IPCC Special report on climate change and land 2019, Chapter 5 Food Security Low-tech precision agriculture • Farmers use knowledge and experience in combination with innovative approaches. • Has the potential to increase the economic return per unit land area while also creating new employment opportunities
  13. 13. New ways of getting information

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