Sustainable agriculture dates back to old conventional methods of farming that were practiced in the early days, where the leaves were used to cover the soil, to prevent excessive water loss, or when animal dung or waste was recycled, and used as manure to improve crop yield. In modern days. these technologies are still been practiced but there is a need to scale up and employ more modern sustainable methods like the incorporation of Technology and Renewable Energy to ensure self sustainability and regeneration geared towards continuous availability of agricultural products for food and textiles production.
It’s imperative that from the planting – harvesting – storage – processing – transportation and marketing, there is a need to incorporate sustainable modern practices like technology and renewable energy for sustainable agriculture geared towards economic, social, ecological and financial prosperity.
Technology: Why do we need to visit our farms daily or look for the nearest botanist or crop/animal health specialist to deliver our worries about our farms when we can use remote sensing, precision farming, use IOT or send data over the internet? Hence the need to develop more agricultural inclusive technical applications like: Zenvus and TRENAGRIC to automate and bring convenience to farmers thereby easing off tedious processes.
Modern technologies also has to be incorporated in terms of growing our crops like soilless farming; better known as hydroponics and the recycling of aquatic waste better known as acquaponics to improve farm yields in all aspects of farming.
Renewable Energy: there is a need to incorporate renewable energy practices through the use of farm waste being recycled through anaerobic digestion to give bio-fuel, bio-gas, bio-gel and fertilizers. This would go a long way in aiding in the proliferation of agricultural produce.
Windmills for pumping water or wind turbines to supply electricity needed in the farm for various activities
Other key applications in the conversion and utilization of solar energy includes: water pumping for irrigation systems, solar fence chargers, solar incubators and hatchery, solar dryers, solar precision farming, solar drone, solar lighting, solar spraying, solar planters and weed harvesters.
Another key application of solar energy is in food storage; in Nigeria alone, billions of naira worth of produce goes to waste due to poor storage facilities. Under the right temperature the most perishable goods could be further preserved from spoiling for about 21 more days giving more timeframe to source for market or to process them. The use of solar energy for preservation is a very feasible feat as it’s currently been employed by Coldhub Nigeria which uses energy derived from the sun to power its mobile cold room and offer cooling as a SaaS (software as a Service) model.
Recycling: Recycling of farm waste to form compost manure, animal waste for manure, eggshells, bones or shells for calcium and wood for energy. This also involves the method of re-using old farm equipment and tools, and less soil corrosive chemicals and detergents.
Sustainable agriculture can’t take place if we don’t decouple fossils fuels form our everyday most basic farming activities, and employ technology alongside to compliment its activities.