The integration of ICT and agriculture started with the subtle use of satellite images. Now the growing popularity of drones has virtually put the control of Geo-positioning systems in the hands of farmers. The use of drones has optimized area usage and increased land usage. Although revolutionary, this does not begin to encompass the many probabilities that ICT can initiate in agriculture.
With sufficient research and understanding of the farming society’s needs we can design numerous ways to improve land usage; control water usage and monitor crop protection. These are just some of the elements that will have an enormous impact on the profitability of the farming market. Also, should this initiative reach its estimated highs; it will help deliver productive and sustainable agricultural production as well as simplify farmers’ decision-making and management.
At Belgium Campus, we have already articulated our commitment to improving lives in rural areas. Although not specifically designed to simplify farming- our students’ Solmon solar invention has simplified a lot of lives in rural communities by providing them with solar energy. This invention allows us to remotely monitor the system via the internet and system parameters sent to the monitoring station.
To further explore the vast possibilities of Smart farming in South Africa; for our second International week, which commenced on 8 May and ended 12 May 2017- Our students and their international counterparts presented their possible solutions to existing problems and for yet-to-be-identified problems. All these solutions will be based on specifications prescribed by the South African Agricultural community.
The agricultural industry is amongst the most traditional trade in history. But as characteristic of the concept of evolution, we need to constantly progress ourselves and consequently, many cultural norms have to be reinvented throughout time. This truth about evolution provides the playing field for innovative minds, more especially in a field as broad as IT.
We thank the PennState University from the USA, Pennsylvania for allowing their students the opportunity to explore the South African agricultural landscape with us. Such social experiments advance our aspirations and solidify our stance as a premier ICT institution in South Africa.