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APNI Presented PA Award at 2nd African Conf. on Precision Agriculture

Precision agriculture (PA) is the science of using high-tech sensor and analysis tools to improve crop yields and assist management decisions.

Shivam Dwivedi
2nd African Conference on Precision Agriculture
2nd African Conference on Precision Agriculture

The African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI) presented the Precision Agriculture (PA) Award to honour excellence in precision agriculture research, outreach, and education in Africa. The PA Award committee evaluates all applications submitted to its Early Career and Senior Scientist divisions before deciding how to distribute the award.

All individuals working for an African National Agricultural Research Institution (NARS), university, international research centre, or agricultural industry are eligible to apply. Additionally, candidates must be 40 years of age or younger at the time of application to qualify as an Early Career Scientist.

The PA Award was given in conjunction with the 2nd African Conference on Precision Agriculture (AfCPA), which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, on December 7-9, 2022, and ten other satellite locations across North, West, East, and Southern Africa. The mission of the AfCPA is to "connect the science and practice required to put precision agriculture into action for Africa."

The PA Award committee is delighted to recognize the contributions of two Early Career Scientists this year. Each winner receives a cash prize of USD $2,500. Dr. Mbulisi Sibanda, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography, Environmental Studies, and Tourism at the University of the Western Cape, is the recipient of the 2022 Precision Agriculture Award. Femi Adekoya, Founder of the Precision Field Academy and Managing Director of Integrated Aerial Precision Ltd in Nigeria.

Dr. Mbulisi Sibanda is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Western Cape's Department of Geography, Environmental Studies, and Tourism. His primary interests are in GIS and remote sensing research and education. He is a South African National Research Foundation (NRF) Early Career Researcher and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu Natal's Centre for Transformative Agricultural and Food Systems.

He received a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in 2020, a Ph.D. in Optical Remote Sensing of Grassland Biomass in Data Scarce Environments from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, in 2017, and an MPhil in Geography with a focus on GIS and Remote Sensing applications from the University of Zimbabwe in 2011. Mbulisi's research interests span Environmental Science, particularly GIScience and Earth Observation applications.

He is enthusiastic about working in an interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary collaborative setting. He simulates the impact of climate change, alien invasive species, and other agents on terrestrial ecosystems and agricultural landscapes using biodiversity conservation practices, agroecology, hydrology, and remote sensing. His current research focuses on the application of drone technologies in agroecological ecosystems. He also has a strong background in human socioeconomic research, particularly in the context of climate change.

Femi Adekoya, Managing Director of Integrated Aerial Precision Ltd in Nigeria, is a trained plant health scientist, an AgricTech professional, and a seasoned practitioner in the agricultural and horticultural industries with over a decade of experience. He is passionate about agricultural innovations and technologies and has extensive experience with them.

He obtained his B.Agric (FUNAAB) and MSc. Integrated Pest Management (Harper Adams University) degrees through the UK Government's prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship. Femi is currently the Precision Agriculture Specialist at IA Precision. He uses UAVs and geospatial data analytics to assist smallholder and commercial farmers and relevant agricultural stakeholders in adopting and practicing precision agriculture.

Furthermore, to address the lack of awareness and dedicated education for capacity building in precision agriculture, he founded Precision Field Academy, where he currently serves as the Head of Training, bridging knowledge and skill gaps in precision agriculture and technologies.

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