BusinessDay

Babban Gona leverages AI, machine learning to increase farmers’ yields

Babban Gona, in deploying technology to boost agricultural productivity has said it is leveraging Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to boost smallholder farmers’ yield per hectare.

To accomplish its key objectives of using technology as an approach to help members increase their yields and profitability, Babban Gona has invested in web and mobile based applications that circumvent the challenges of limited access to internet experienced in its areas of operations.

These applications are optimized to embed offline functionalities that collate and process data without requiring an internet connection, and synchronize when the user is in a location with internet access.

“We view technology innovations in agriculture as a catalyst that uses increasingly complex data to make increasingly accurate predictions, projections, and in some cases decisions,” said Kola Masha, managing director at Babban Gona, in a statement.

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“Beyond the linear increase in efficiency, it is a pragmatic solution that cuts across the entire value chain from production to processing and manufacturing, distribution and storage, and until the final product reach the consumer,” Masha said.

“Deploying technology in agriculture has increased our strategic resilience, provided employment for youths and reduced our impact on the environment,” he added.

In 2020, Babban Gona’s GPS application mapped over 50,000 members’ fields, supported over 38,000 farmers and over 18,500 women entrepreneurs (via its Women Empowerment Development Initiative) across 6 states in Nigeria.

Babban Gona wrote enough lines of code that, if lined up end to end, would reach 140km.

The organisation said the technology enabled would allow them support its members to harvest 10 ocean liners worth of grain; a feat that positioned the organization as the largest producer of maize in West Africa.

It deploys technology to train its members through effective instructional design and channels that enable them take proactive climate-smart decisions in the field during the pre-season, in-season, and post-season.

Babban Gona is driven by a decade of evidence in leveraging agriculture technology which allows farmers to make tailored decisions, leading to a more efficient use of agricultural inputs, such as fertilizers. These technology investments have proven to provide the best return on investment for poverty alleviation by creating sustainable value chains to enable smallholder’s increase their yields and net incomes to 2 times the national average.

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