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Dubai: Meet the university student fighting food insecurity in Nigeria by transforming his graduation project – News

Formally established as a company in 2021, Al Zira’a Tech was first conceived when Farouk was in the final year of his bachelor’s degree.

Published: Saturday, September 30, 2023, 6:00 am

Inspired by the technological advancement of the United Arab Emirates, a University of Dubai student has transformed his engineering project into a thriving sustainable agriculture company in Nigeria, aimed at addressing the problem of insufficient food supply in his home country.

Farouk Dalhatu, now an MBA student at the Canadian University of Dubai (CUD), is introducing local farmers to technologies that promote best agricultural practices in his country.

Formally established as a company in 2021, Al Zira’a Tech was first conceived when Farouk was in the final year of his Bachelor of Computer and Network Engineering Technology at CUD.

Anticipating a number of upcoming business and technology competitions, Farouk and his team began developing this idea for a technology-driven solution to help eradicate the problem of low food supply and boost agricultural production and efficiency in the nation of West Africa.

“The UAE is one of the places that has the best adoption of new technologies and novel approaches. We have seen the UAE be early adopters of technology in government, logistics and also other critical sectors. For us in Africa, we are often left behind in the way we accept new technologies. Therefore, this country has been my inspiration to do this,” said the Nigerian expat.

Empower farmers for a sustainable shift away from traditional agriculture

Clarifying his initiative, Farouk explained that his goal was to educate farmers and show them that they do not have to work with conventional agricultural systems.

Farouk said: “The idea was to merge integrated farming with precision farming techniques and help farmers adopt technology and develop better sustainable farming practices. The project was well received in several student competitions here, so I decided to take the idea to Nigeria and explore the possibility of setting up a business.”

His company soon established itself in the market with three main services, offering a wide range of facilities and technologies aimed at improving agricultural practices, increasing productivity and promoting sustainable agriculture.

“First, we provide agricultural advisory services, which educate farmers on best practices around integrated farming, organic farming and precision farming. Second, we supply hardware technology, including surveillance cameras and sensors, that monitor important metrics such as temperature, humidity, and soil salinity. Thirdly, we provide organic fertilizer, which is more sustainable and cost-effective, and offers higher crop yields, which can also allow locally grown products to be certified as organically produced products,” said the student and businessman, who travels home frequently. for this company.

Talks and seminars to raise awareness among local farmers.

In addition, Farouk, together with his team, organizes seminars, gives talks, works with private farm owners and has even developed the prototype of an application that some clients are already using.

“One of the main problems of integrated agriculture is the lack of an adequate knowledge base. Many farmers do not have sufficient knowledge to run an integrated business. That’s where our app comes into play.”

He explains that the application combines software and hardware for agricultural management.

“This application called Al Zira’a Tech will be launched in November. It allows farmers to assign tasks remotely, monitor farming activity and gain advice on best farming practices, from wherever they are. It also comes with some hardware, featuring surveillance cameras and monitoring sensors. All of this feeds information into the app for the farmer to manage the farm remotely,” Farouk said.

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