Farmers need to catch up with Fourth Industrial Revolution.
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By Nicole Tau
The COVID-19 pandemic mitigation measures restricting movement of persons are showing farmers in Lesotho that they need to implement new technological farming techniques that come with the wave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
Prime Minister Dr. Moeketsi Majoro has released new COVID-19 mitigation measures that include the reduction of cash in circulation in favor of use of mobile money payment systems and online banking to lessen physical contact.
KDNews has learned that measures like the one Majoro introduced are forcing local businesses to transform their business models to adapt and stay afloat.
Mfodise Jiyane Maduna, an Agricultural Economist and a farmer, it is imperative for farmers to go digital and adopt new farming techniques through new technological means in order to stay relevant in the ever-changing and competitive business of farming.
“Agriculture used to be considered as subsistence farming in Lesotho but has now been commercialized with the application of technological ways.
“Farmers will need to be capacitated through workshops and short courses like Information and Communications Technology, which will be formulated in a way that will accommodate farmers,” Maduna said.
Maduna points out importance first informing and educating farmers across Lesotho who are not in the know-how yet on how to use such technological tools to their advantage amid some owning relevant tools.
“The Ministry of Communications has an Extension Service Department that can assist in educating the farmers in faraway regions on technology that relates to farming,” Maduna said.
For an Information and Communications Technology Consultant Bokang Moqelane, some of the essential technological advancements in Farming include use of Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Blockchain, and Internet of Things (IoT).
Moqelane, who also consults farmers, shares Maduna’s opinion on the importance of reaching out to farmers countrywide on ways technology can make their farming simpler and more profitable.
“Organized knowledge is power. The employment of technological tools in one’s farming will ensure a greater yield with a bigger profit margin which will assist in the economy of Lesotho through larger revenue in tax from farmers,” said Moqelane.
Moqelane also points that there are already existing platforms and individuals who are doing their part in assisting farmers.
One such platform, according to Maqelane is Marakeng, a digital e-farming platform and a system designed to coordinate the sharing of agricultural knowledge and information, buying and selling of agricultural produce on behalf of the farmers.