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Friday, July 10, 2015

New farming methods sack workers in South Africa

The two new farming methods expected to revolutionize agriculture globally namely, Precision farming and Conservation, have succeeded in reducing jobs in South Africa’s agric sector, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Precision agriculture, experts say, taps into Global Positioning System (GPS) technology such thatfarmers could gather precise soil data to target exactly what inputs they need and where, while conservation involves trying to preserve South Africa’s erosion-prone soils.

Information reaching NaijaAgroNet said that samples are scooped from each hectare of a field, which is marked off into grids. The field map that emerges is colour-coded to denote exactly what needs to be applied in each square.

Analysts say this is at odds with policy proposals by the ruling African National Congress, which is seeking to limit farm size and create rural jobs. Technology, NaijaAgroNet gathered, is threatening to uproot such efforts.

South African farmer,Cobus van Coller, report said, usedthe technology to demonstrate “precision” farming for maximum profit. He scans the computer screen in the cab of his harvester. As the machine mows down corn stalks, numbers are updated on the screen, giving the precise moisture levels and yield in each section of his field. “This shows you if you’re going to make money,” he said in an interview with Reuters.

Van Coller also uses the technology for planting. “The GPS tells the computer where you are, and the computer tells the seeder which product to apply and how much.”

“We need to build up our soils again because they have been so degraded,” said Hendrik Smith of industry group GrainSouth Africa.

Cyriacus Nnaji/ GEE

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