By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
Zambia’s first space technology firm has been launched to provide affordable data that will help transform the country into an agriculture hub.
With climate change challenges, Ignitos Space Limited, Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Hamwi said they are looking to transform Zambia into the space technology hub in Africa, while becoming the food basket.
In an interview in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Hamwi pointed out that the main challenges had been the lack of expertise in the space domain in Zambia.
He indicated that at most instances, farmers don’t know what to plant but with such satellite data it would assist them make informed decision on what crop to grow.
Mr Hamwi indicated that the farming sector in most parts had been hit or a miss in Zambia, especially for small-scale farmers who cannot afford expensive data and tools to enhance their farming business.
“Our primary focus for the satellite is for four key areas, agriculture, climate change, water resource management and disaster mitigation,” he said.
Mr Hamwi explained that when they have the mappings of the entire country, farmers would have advantage to know about the weather, soil composition, type of crops with shortage in the country, which would help them make plans that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound.
“We decided to focus our efforts on looking for data from satellites in orbit with the hope of using earth observation data to give farmers and organizations fighting climate change better resources.
“We noticed that what was available did not meet Zambia’s needs so we decided to launch our own satellite. By launching our own Zambian satellite into space, we will help solve the challenges by providing affordable data accessibility to everyone from farmers to governments,” he explained.
Mr Hamwi said the international space agency such as NASA and South African Space Agency have granted Ignitos access to more than 100 satellites that the company was using to conduct different research.
This would help provide accurate artificial intelligence platforms that would be the point of access of every Zambian to the crucial data needed for all fields.
He noted that Zambia had enough resources but lacks satellite data that was predictable by science to help farmers make informed decisions for the next farming season.