Climate change has become an issue that affects many, if not all, countries across the globe. This has led to more universities ploughing time and resources into figuring out how the problem can still be mitigated, and its impact on one of the world’s most important sectors: agriculture.
According to the secretary-general of the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Morocco, innovation, research and development is enabling Africa to become a food secure continent for the future.
“The ambition of this university is to create a framework where young Africans can assimilate the concepts and notions of technology and adapt them into reality on the ground. Technology is global, but innovation is local. We want to offer a space for these young people so they can take charge of Africa’s development,” said secretary-general Hicham el Habti via a statement.
The university has a various innovation hubs with different areas of focus, and one of these hubs concentrates specifically on smart farming. A beautiful blend of technology and data processing is used to improve the cultivation process.
Within the smart farming bracket falls “aerodrome engineering services”. Here, the university experiments with drones to help farmers detect pests, water stress and nutrient deficiencies in crops.
The impact of climate change in Africa cannot be understated. Farmers are having to find ways to adapt their crops to deal with changes in weather patterns which now lead to lower crop yields.
At the university, scientists have found that mooring and quinoa are crops that adjust well to growing in drylands. Much of the research at the experimental farm focuses on factors that impact production, such as soil degradation, biodiversity loss and disease.
The university has also been instrumental in the growth of quinoa in Rhamna, Morocco, where the soil can be arid and of low quality. Because the crop produces greater yields, some farmers have shifted from wheat and barley to farming with it.
“Climate change is becoming an existential threat. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every single country to come up with its own solutions to cope with this problem. One of the means [to do this] is the screening of cereals, crops or plants that can perform very well in the face of climate change. Quinoa is one of these plants,” said soil scientist Fassil Kebede, according to Euronews.
In Morocco, the rising popularity of quinoa, which can be used to produce flour, cookies, and couscous (the country’s national cuisine), has resulted in the creation of new employment.