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Is it possible to achieve food production without compromising the environment?

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“Is it possible for African farmers, already faced with low yields and high risks, to balance increased production with protecting the environment?” asks Mr Ishmael Sunga, the Chief Executive Officer of SACAU in an article he wrote for Farming First. The article, titled “Science-based, smarter farmer farming for Africa” is about the importance of using data to mitigate the effects of climate change on agriculture.

The article asserts that it is indeed possible for farmers in Africa to strike this balance. Foremost is the adoption of good agricultural practices which enable farmers to do more with less or with the same. This however, should go together with the necessary innovations such as improved seeds and animal breeds.

It also highlights the need to increase the level of awareness, understanding and appreciation of farmers, consumers and society at large on the effects of the current production models on the environment as well as incentivising farmers to invest in the long-term sustainability of their farms.

The article goes on to call for investment in backbone Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure and rural energy for connectivity. This is in recognition of the importance of ICT for wide scale dissemination of information and knowledge to farmers and for on-farm operations. With some of these digital instruments, data is collected, which in turn assist in determining the amount of fertiliser to be applied to reduce loss in the environment, for instance.

Adapted from article titled “Science-based, smarter farming for Africa” published on 11 October 2018 on https://farmingfirst.org/2018/10/science-based-smarter-farming-africa-2/.