SLU news

Precision agriculture – key to food security in sub-Saharan Africa?

Published: 28 May 2018
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Justin M. Nyaga from the University of Embu in Kenya has been visiting the AgriFoSe2030 programme and the Department of Soil and Environment at SLU during March and April. With his visit, he hopes to understand and communicate the extent to which precision agriculture has been studied in sub-Saharan Africa.

Justin M. Nyaga is a lecturer in plant physiology and climate science at the University of Embu in Kenya. He has a background is environmental science and conservation biology and he is interested in everything related to nutrients! For example topics such as nutrient cycling, nutrient deposition, plant nutrient acquisition and plant bio-adaptation to climate change.

A review and map on precision agriculture in the pipeline

During Justin’s visit to Sweden in March and April 2018, he attended a one week training course on the theory of change and systematic review between 12th and 15th of March at the SLU’s Uppsala campus. For another four weeks, he was based at the Skara campus of SLU where he started working on a systematic map and review of precision agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa.

- This involved a critical review of documented literature in all the main online literature databases and screening them into various categories that represent a map of studies done on precision agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. I will make another visit to SLU, Skara campus in June/July to take stock on progress towards development of the systematic map and review. This process will continue until publication, says Justin.

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The plant physiologist Justin M. Nyaga is very passionate about how various crops and cropping systems in Africa can cope with extreme weather events associated with climate variability.

Precision agriculture – key to food security in sub-Saharan Africa

What does Justin expect from the AgriFoSe2030 programme?

-My expectations are that I will be able to understand and communicate in a more logical manner the extent to which precision agriculture has been studied in sub-Saharan Africa. I think this is important as I believe precision agriculture is key to food security in this African sub-continent.

– Here, the population keeps growing, yet the available agricultural land doesn’t, and its only innovative agricultural practices like precision farming that can guarantee food security in the long run. This is why reviewing the practice scientifically through the AgriFoSe2030 programme is important. It is a concept that needs to be embraced by all players in the agricultural sector in this region, including farmers, researchers, local and county governments.

Climate change models for advicing African smallholders

What are his passions when it comes to work and studies?

– I am a plant physiologist and I am very passionate about how various crops and cropping systems in Africa can cope with extreme and unexpected weather events associated with climate variability.

– I am very passionate about development of empirical climate change models and using them to project future climate scenarios. Such projections can be used to advise farmers, especially smallholders, in Africa on climate smart farming, concludes Justin.


Contact

Håkan Marstorp, Associate Professor

Theme leader of Theme 3 in AgriFoSe2030
Department of Soil and Environment, SLU 
Box 7014, 75007 Uppsala
Phone:  018-672556
hakan.marstorp@slu.se

 

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