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Smart farming: These apps bring agriculture to the forefront of technology

By: Sisanda Ntshinga

Although farming plays such a crucial part in the African economy, it has not been an easily accessible space for consumers or those in the retail space wanting to connect directly with small scale farmers. Smallholder farmers in need of specific tools to help their businesses grow and better their services, have also found it difficult to connect with the relevant stakeholders. We list some apps that have made accessibility easier for farmers as well as those they supply to. 


South African mobile app Khula is a supply chain solution that connects over 3000 small scale farmers in their network with the formal marketplace. Acting as a central virtual outlet where multiple emerging farmers crowd source and deliver bulk orders to supermarkets, restaurants and the general public, the app has opened up the market for farmers and ensures quality fresh produce for retailers. Through the app the farmers supply over 150 distribution centres around the country and can track real-time inventory on the app and can also share logistics costs. The app also creates opportunity for truck owners who can register on the app and get notified when a delivery job is available.

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Over 38 million smallholder farmers in Nigeria lack access to finance to grow their agricultural production. Crop2Cash’s CashCard allows small scale farmers in rural Nigeria to receive digital payments and build their financial credibility. The app makes formal financing a 100% transparent process for banks while providing much needed capital to farmers. With CashCard, farmers get access to basic financial services without physically going to the bank, and can save without a bank account, but rather through their local farm input shop within walking distance. The app also allows farmers to build a strong credit record should they need micro-credit from financial institutions. With just their phone number farmers are also able to access payments from buyers safely and securely.

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Farmcrowdy is a leading agritech company in Nigeria focused on providing the necessary tools and technology for farmers and agribusinesses, to boost food production with better yields, lower costs, and smarter marketing. With at least 116 000 farmers in their network FarmCrowdy assists with providing structured financing and credit to farmers across several agricultural value chains. The app also uses their tech-powered network of agro commodity aggregation centres to bring together key fresh produce direct from the farming communities, and give buyers, processors and service providers access to markets across the entire fresh produce value chain. The platform also empowers farmers with information and tools for processing and analysis of data to help improve decision making and outcomes.

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Aerobotics is a South African app that uses drone imagery that’s guided by artificial intelligence to detect pest and disease in your farm. The app allows you to track tree health and size using multi-spectral high resolution drone imagery. It identifies areas that need attention and makes data driven decisions on your farm, and the reporting tool consolidates all your infield findings and alerts you to areas where action is needed.  

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HYDRA Farm Awareness

HYDRA Farm Awareness gives farmers real-time awareness of all their operations by using sensors, artificial intelligence and IoT technologies to bring data to life. Farmers can manage and monitor all aspects of their operations on the app, which includes livestock tracking, water use and equipment issues, down to how much feed and fertiliser they use. HYDRA Farm Awareness gives farmers a single-view of their entire operation, enabling them to track assets, optimise operations and farm more efficiently. HYDRA allows you to efficiently and effectively leverage data to gain a competitive edge against threats, to gain information awareness and to allow agriculture to grow and thrive. This leads to informed planning, strategic level decision making and sustainment.

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Featured image: Anzisha fellow and Khula founder Karidas Tshintsholo

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