Microsoft-Techno Brain reshapes farming in Africa with digital platform
By Rolex Owino
Techno Brain has partnered with Microsoft Corporation to launch a Digital Agriculture Platform in Africa to help farmers improve crop yields and increase income.
Smallholder farmers are the most vulnerable to impacts of climate change, with rain-fed agriculture accounting for more than 90 per cent of farmed land in Sub-Saharan Africa.
These farmers face many risks beyond their control, including drought, disease and pest epidemics.
The technology solutions being offered by Techno Brain will collate data for: farming locations using Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, expected rainfall and weather patterns, land type and soil nutrition, and process the information on intelligent cloud to create insights that help farmers in Africa make better farming decisions.
Microsoft is already working with government and enterprises in India to help farmers with small hold farmlands and dependence on rain-fed agriculture. This partnership is now being extended to Africa.
The pilots are starting in Malawi and Tanzania, in partnership with National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) and ETG Farmers Foundation, respectively.
Farmers will receive insights on mobile via short message service (SMS) and voice platforms; best crops to plant, optimal sowing week, pest growth alerts, adverse weather notices, preferred harvesting time, market information and farming tips developed in collaboration with other knowledge partners and African Governments.
Speaking during the official launch, Anand Mohan, Chief Operations Officer Techno Brain said: “Agriculture is the main stay of African economies but has a lot of untapped potential. Many African smallholder farmers lack access to information and knowledge that would help them maximise agricultural production, and we believe that this platform offered by Techno Brain and Microsoft will empower African smallholder farmers to increase their yields and income significantly.”
Anil Bhansali, Corporate Vice President Cloud + AI Microsoft said: “Microsoft’s vision is to use the power of our cloud and AI tools to help solve problems in core and infrastructural areas by enabling innovative and scalable solutions. The partnership with Techno Brain marks an important milestone in our on-going efforts to help create sustainable livelihoods in Africa, India and rest of the world.”
The partnership between Techno Brain and Microsoft will enable smallholder farmers develop climate and market resilience.
It will also enable development of new agribusiness models and make agriculture a viable livelihood for many farmers across the continent.
“We anticipate that smart and precision agriculture will further attract youth to farming,” Bhansali noted.
Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT” @Microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge.
Techno Brain is a leading digital company with operations in Africa, USA, India and UAE. It is also the first indigenous African company to be assessed at CMMI Level-5, achieving highest quality standards for software development.
Currently operating in 21 countries, employing 1,200 high tech jobs in the continent, Techno Brain has achieved leadership positions in areas such as Public Financial management, Digital Identifications, Tax and Customs, IT Training and Education, Business Process Outsourcing and a host of e-government solutions.
-Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & The Exchange.