Farming in Sub Sahara Africa (SSA) is, for most practitioners being smallholder farmers, a marginal activity characterized by low productivity levels. On the other hand, the smallholder sector in SSA generally accounts for the largest share in the total volume of agricultural produce. Therefore, increasing the productivity of these producers will impact agricultural production levels, significantly.
To increase productivity, income generation and livelihoods of farmers in SSA, it is essential to support farmers’ agronomic practices by enhancing their common-sense decision making with access to high-quality personalized advice. Through our new service: SmartCane, we aim to do just that, targeting sugarcane outgrower production systems.
Satellite data services have been developed for large scale agriculture, focused purely on information service delivery to improve management decisions. However, the potential to leverage the agronomic information retrieved from Remotes Sensing (R.S.) for the provision of valuable services to smallholder farmers remains mostly unexplored, notably in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Resilience BV is currently investigating and piloting the large scale feasibility of the SmartCane Concept.
Through the to be developed SmartCane product, we aim to integrate Remote Sensing-based information with digital-extension service delivery to smallholder farmers, addressing a gap in the sugarcane value chain on knowledge delivery to farmers. For this, we use a user-centred design approach, aiming at a high adoption and user engagement level.
The foreseen impact of SmartCane service is threefold: smallholder farmers will increase their production (1); outgrower modalities will improve the delivery and impact of their extension services (2) and the planning and management of sugarcane load scheduling to the factory will improve (3). The underlying idea is to bring RS-based information and advice that is already available on an industrial scale to the hands of smallholder farmers.