New tech for agric sector

04 Oct, 2015 - 00:10 0 Views
New tech for agric sector

The Sunday Mail

Debra Matabvu
THE University of Zimbabwe has developed agricultural technology to identify the spread of nutrients in a field and the exact quantities of nutrients per crop, as well as to predict yields using satellite imagery.  The technology is linked to Geographic Information Science (GIS) at the Earth and Observation Science Centre at the institution’s farm on Harare’s outskirts. The centre will also soon establish mineral data and track wildlife.

UZ Vice-Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura said, “We have developed agriculture technology which we are going to use at the university farm beginning this year, before it is rolled out to other centres.

“We will be able to do an assessment of land under tobacco, soya beans, maize or any other crop without visiting the place. The system uses the GIS at the Earth and Observation Science Centre to map a field, identify the spread the nutrients in a field and the nutrients that are needed by the certain crop and predict the yields.

“We are also working in an area of exploration and actual quantification of the minerals in the country using the same system. The ultimate objective at the end of the day is to have a Zimbabwe map of minerals which documents the exact quantities of minerals at any given locality.

“We have lost so many animals over the years due to animals poachers thus we have also partnered with Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and we are going to use the system to keep track of animals in different game parks in the country.” He urged Government to review the Geography curriculum in line with global and modern trends.

“This is an example of how the curriculum is changing in tertiary education, where we are saying Geography is no longer about population and contours, it is Geography that is meeting the needs of the 21st century,” said Prof Nyagura.

“In light of these developments, it is our strong recommendation that Geography school curricula be reviewed. Zimbabwe needs geographic information service to spur its development agenda, safeguard its sovereignty and exploit its vast natural resources.” The institution has also started developing a memory enhancing drug for Alzheimer’s patients. The university is celebrating its 60th anniversary with 63 internationally-recognised HIV studies and other scientific innovations to its credit.

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