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Govt pushes for smart farming

Smart farming is a management concept focused on providing the agricultural industry with infrastructure to leverage on advanced technology.

LANDS, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement deputy minister Vangelis Haritatos says current farming practices are no longer sufficient while encouraging the sector to embrace smart agriculture.

Smart farming is a management concept focused on providing the agricultural industry with infrastructure to leverage on advanced technology.

This process includes using big data, the cloud and the internet of things for tracking, monitoring, automating and analysing operations.

Speaking at the annual smart farming indaba yesterday in Harare, Haritatos said it was imperative that farmers embraced innovative solutions to ensure resilience and sustainability of 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,” Haritatos said.

“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.”

With smart farming practices, he added, the sector could overcome some of the challenges presented through current farming practices.

This is coming at a time when the world, including Zimbabwe, is battling climate change with the country facing an El Niño-induced drought.

But, Haritatos said transformative practices would not only mitigate the impact of drought but also lead to increased productivity and food security.

He added that a key strategy in smart farming was the adoption of precision systems.

This is because these systems allow farmers to deliver the right amount of water to crops at the right time, significantly reducing water wastage and optimising water usage.

“Another crucial aspect of farming is the integration of climate smart agricultural practices. These practices involve the use of resilient crop varieties, soil conservation techniques and the implementation of agroforestry systems,” Haritatos said.

He added that the use of advanced technologies like drones and satellite imagery could provide valuable insights into crop health, soil moisture levels and pest infestations.

The deputy minister called for better collaboration between the government and the private sector with regards to smart farming.

With increased weather phenomenon such as the El Niño-induced drought, calls for smart farming and climate change adaptation practices in agriculture are being made.

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