Today, UK-based publisher, Fertilizer Focus, published an invited piece I had written on our work on smart crop nutrition. We are working to make fertilizer application data-driven, anchored on the real needs of crops, and correlated with the soil conditions. That work has brought the partnerships we have with fertilizer companies where we are working to help them engineer fertilizers so that farmers can save by systemically configuring fertilizer mix based on soil-crop needs.
In Ethiopia, earlier in the year, Argus Media, invited me to keynote a gathering of leading fertilizer companies in the world, including OCP, the world’s largest producer of phosphate. OCP had awarded us the 2017 “AgTech Startup of the Year”.
There is a fundamental redesign which must take place in the way fertilizers are designed and produced. Today, the same fertilizer sold in Uyo (Nigeria) is largely the same sold in Sokoto (Nigeria). That is not right because some parts of Uyo have urea which means the farmlands there do not need nitrogen at the same level as the soils in Sokoto. If the maker of the fertilizer has that information, it can re-engineer a minor production system where fertilizers shipped to Uyo would be cheaper because there may not be a need for too much nitrogen. Yes, you avoid wasting money blindly.
That cost reduction is saving to government which continues to subsidize most fertilizers used in Africa. Where government saves, the farmers would gain as the saving can be used to provide them with expanded farm inputs.
Using data from our sensors, we help farmers model the right mix of fertilizers in their farms. It is a very fascinating experience when we take guess work out of a very important industry.
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