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Review article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Precision Agriculture for Resource Use Efficiency in Smallholder Farming Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review

Onyango, Cecilia M.; Nyaga, Justine M.; Wetterlind, Johanna; Soderstrom, Mats; Piikki, Kristin

Abstract

Opportunities exist for adoption of precision agriculture technologies in all parts of the world. The form of precision agriculture may vary from region to region depending on technologies available, knowledge levels and mindsets. The current review examined research articles in the English language on precision agriculture practices for increased productivity among smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. A total of 7715 articles were retrieved and after screening 128 were reviewed. The results indicate that a number of precision agriculture technologies have been tested under SSA conditions and show promising results. The most promising precision agriculture technologies identified were the use of soil and plant sensors for nutrient and water management, as well as use of satellite imagery, GIS and crop-soil simulation models for site-specific management. These technologies have been shown to be crucial in attainment of appropriate management strategies in terms of efficiency and effectiveness of resource use in SSA. These technologies are important in supporting sustainable agricultural development. Most of these technologies are, however, at the experimental stage, with only South Africa having applied them mainly in large-scale commercial farms. It is concluded that increased precision in input and management practices among SSA smallholder farmers can significantly improve productivity even without extra use of inputs.

Keywords

precision agriculture; small-scale farmers; resource use efficiency; Sub-Saharan Africa

Published in

Sustainability
2021, Volume: 13, number: 3, article number: 1158Publisher: MDPI