Digital technology helps farmers affected by climate change

AI, sensors and other advancements are helping yield better crops.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Representational image of a farmer using technology on a field.jpg
Representational image of a farmer using technology on a field.


A Nigerian professor is advocating for the use of digital technology to help the nation’s struggling farmers cope with global warming.

Professor Adewale Dipeolu of the Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta told Vanguard on Sunday that digital innovation will be key to ensuring agricultural practices thrive, particularly in remote areas of the country that are the most devastated by climate change.

The comments were made at a workshop funded by the European Union.

Farmers left vulnerable

“Nigeria’s agricultural sector has been grappling with numerous challenges, exacerbated by climate change, erratic rainfall, erosion, pest and disease outbreaks, and insecurity issues, such as farmer-herder clashes. These adversities have left farmers vulnerable, particularly those residing in remote rural areas,” told the news outlet the academic.

He explained that studies were conducted in the regions of Imo, Ogun and Kwara States.

“We are here now to discuss the findings on the baseline study. We went to field to see if farmers are aware of these digital solutions to climate change. What are the challenges farmers face with climate change? If they use these digital provisions, is it affordable for them?”

The workshop will now help in the creation of an app that will seek to assist the country’s struggling farmers with implementing agricultural-based digital solutions to improve their crops and boost local food production.

Digital agriculture technologies consist of a variety of tools that enhance farming processes. For example, precision field mapping is made possible by GPS and satellite advancements that allow farmers to define precise field boundaries and analyze variations in soil conditions that directly affect agricultural practices. 

Meanwhile, data about the soil's moisture content, temperature, nutrient levels, humidity, and other factors are gathered using a variety of digital sensors. These sensors give farmers timely information about the state of their fields, assisting them in making informed decisions that yield improved more weather-resilient crops. Drones carrying cameras can be used to collect high-resolution data and photos, which aid in crop monitoring and disease detection,.

Improved crop management

Large datasets can be processed by artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to reveal insights on successful and effective crop management. These tools are able to forecast crop yields, spot disease outbreaks, and suggest the best periods for planting and harvesting.

Finally, for operations like weeding, planting, and harvesting, robotics are increasingly being implemented to enhance labor productivity and lessen the demand for physical manual labor that may not always be available or efficient. These are but a few examples of digital farming technologies. 

Other cases include blockchain technology for traceable supply chains, variable rate technology for waste reduction, smart irrigation for effective water usage and weather forecasting for timely decisions on planting.

By using digital agricultural technologies, farming practices may become more productive, resource-efficient, and sustainable, producing higher-performing crops that can feed more people. However, effective implementation necessitates spending on new and improved technology, educating farmers on how to use it, and taking data security concerns into account.

As climate change makes the use of these technologies ever more necessary, the agricultural sector must adapt or risk becoming obsolete.