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Artificial Intelligence & Agriculture and Food Systems

Artificial Intelligence & Agriculture and Food Systems

Africa’s population is expected to reach about 2.6 billion by 2050. This will require an increase in agricultural and food production by up to 70% to fit the need of the population, a serious challenge for the agriculture and food systems. Such requirement, in a context of resource scarcity, climate change, COVID-19 pandemic, and very harsh socioeconomic conjecture, is difficult to attain without the intervention of emerging technologies and innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI) to leapfrog the transformations required in the sector.

The overall objective of this initiative is to advance the responsible development, deployment, and scaling of homegrown AI research and innovations to tackle pressing challenges in agriculture and food systems in Africa. This will be accomplished through setting-up, managing, and supporting an innovation research network on AI for agriculture and food systems. This network will consist of 6-10 innovation research projects that will develop, deploy, test, and seek to scale responsible and homegrown artificial intelligence research and innovations.

This project is part of the innovation stream of the Artificial Intelligence for Development Africa (AI4D Africa) program dedicated to a future where Africans across all regions create and use artificial intelligence to lead healthier, happier, and greener lives. AI4D Africa is co-funded by the Swedish International Development Agency and Canada’s International Development Research Centre. AI4D Africa is a four-year, CAD 20 million, partnership between Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Sweden’s government agency for development cooperation (Sida). The program is dedicated to a future where Africans across all regions use   AI to lead happier, healthier and greener lives. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for all in Africa and beyond by partnering with Africa’s science and policy communities to leverage AI through high-quality research, responsible innovation, and strengthening talent. Seeks to address the above challenges through supporting African-led development of responsible and inclusive AI.

Food systems are the complex web of people and activities that make up the production, processing, transport, and consumption of food. The foundation of these systems is agriculture. There is a growing interest in enterprises who are focused on creating solutions for Agri-Food Systems, based on AI capabilities of solving multiple problems and saving valuable resources by reducing environmental damage. This aims to create business models that create competitive advantage for farmers and enterprises in the agricultural sector without damaging the environment.

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