A recent BBC article has identified some clever examples of agricultural innovations:
Exosect, an integrated pest management (IPM) innovation company, has pioneered the use of a charged wax powder that is soaked in synthetic female pheromones and then attached to male insects. When sprayed over crops, male insects are attracted to each other, rather than to females, leading to a reduction in mating, egg laying and consequent crop damage with the benefit of very few pheromone dispensers. The powder is environmentally friendly, and works 24/7 in all weather conditions. The company is also starting a UK government project to tackle insects in grain storage. Around 16% of the world’s grain is destroyed by insects in storage.
PureSense is a company that provides farmers with the tools and support needed to manage irrigation more effectively. They use a Field Monitoring Station that collects real-time data from a grower’s field, orchard or vineyard by monitoring soil and climate conditions every 15 minutes. By monitoring how much moisture there is in the soil in real-time, they adjust the farms’ irrigation systems accordingly via wi-fi. More accurate irrigation scheduling have resulted in water savings of 10% to 40% and the project has produced increased crop yields of 5% to 15% per year.
Connecting farmers to buyers
FarmsReach is an US-based online marketplace that connects farmers to business buyers. This makes it easier for restaurants and independent supermarkets to buy produce from local farmers.
The main threat the Seychelles islands face is desertification and further soil degradation during heavy rainfall. As a small and yet geographically diverse island, the Seychelles consists of many extremely vulnerable ecosystems. Climate change has led to coastal erosion, flooding and more frequent and intense tropical storms, which has resulted in a shortage of arable land – a threat to national food production and hence to national food security. The Seychelles Farmers Association run an initiative to sustain their national agricultural production against these extreme weather patterns through the adoption of three technology packages:
Tropical greenhouse technology
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Use of low volume irrigation water applicators.
Two main types of greenhouse are available according to the terrain; one for the coastal plains and the other for the upland slopes. An effective irrigation using a low volume water applicator combined with a fertigation system, which combines irrigation with fertilizer application, minimises water use but also allows for water and fertilizer to be applied more specifically and more efficiently.
This promotion of greenhouses has proven a viable and successful system to allow producers in the Seychelles to preserve their agricultural production in the battle against climate change.