For a countless number of times, politicians and civil society organizations have run to the media to complain about agriculture and the need to introduce more technology into agriculture.
After 62 years of independence, the main backbone of the Ghanaian economy is still agriculture which also remains largely subsistence with many still using traditional methods of farming.
However, with climate change, there is the need for the everyday Ghanaian farmer to adopt new and modern means of farming to produce the yield that would be enough for the country and even for exports.
The need for an improved tech-based mode of farming has never been as important as it is today.
Thanks to Stephan Ofosuhene, an Ashesi Graduate of the 2019 year group, we may have a good practical answer on our hands.
Having seen his parents’ farm unable to sustain itself and shutting down due to low farmhand skill, and the inability to implement right farming strategies, Stephan decided to use his final year project to address this personal and national problem.
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For his senior-year project, Stephan Ofosuhene developed a new model for an artificial intelligence powered hydroponic farming unit.
In hydroponic farming, farmers can grow crops more efficiently, in nutrient-rich mediums other than soil.
Over a year, Stephan developed a machine learning model that automates supply and monitoring of nutrients to crops, requiring little intervention from a farmer.
“The system offers many benefits,” Stephan told Ashesi in an interview.
The system is also programmed to automatically track plant PH levels, electrical conductivity and atmospheric temperature in real time. The data is then collected and fed into a system, that forecasts optimum plant conditions and provides next steps for farmers to increase crop yield.
Having seen his parents’ farm unable to sustain itself and shutting down due to low farmhand skill, and the inability to implement right farming strategies, Stephan’s project addressed a personal problem for him.
“It reduces the time necessary for crop production, increases yield and reduces pest attacks on crop growth. Moreover, crops are constantly supplied with nutrients and don’t need to expend their energy growing their roots deep into the soil to search for nutrients. Instead, that energy is pushed upward into more yield and better health,” he said.
Stephan’s project can very well be the answer to the tech-based farming we have been searching for.
Thanks, Stephan, we hope mum and dad’s farm gets a reboot.