Atlas AI has signed an agreement with Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to transform smallholder agriculture in Nigeria and 10 other sub-Saharan African countries. Atlas AI is a Silicon Valley-based public benefit corporation founded by The Rockefeller Foundation, while AGRA is an African-led, farmer-centred institution funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and partners.
The Rockefeller Foundation and other partners, yesterday, announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) forming a unique collaboration to address food insecurity in the 11 countries.This new partnership allows Atlas AI and AGRA to use technology to benefit millions of smallholder farmers who are unable to invest in tools and technologies that could increase yields and improve lives.
Countries covered by the agreement include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali. The MOU establishes an agreement between Atlas AI and AGRA to collaborate around predictive analytics for smallholder agriculture, through application of satellite imagery and machine learning to offer useful insights in areas of land use, yields, peak time for harvest, input distribution gaps, and other contextual monitoring aspects.
In a continent where about 70 per cent of the population depends on agriculture for sustenance – and smallholder farmers account for 90 per cent of food production, this collaboration will utilise Atlas AI’s cutting-edge tools and AGRA’s unique local data sets to improve food security.
“We recognise that technology has the power to improve food security that is critical for both human welfare and economic growth in Africa, and we’re optimistic that this relationship represents the future of defeating large-scale food insecurity around the world,” said president of The Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Rajiv Shah.
“I am excited that AGRA and Atlas AI will work together to drive agricultural transformation that will improve the lives of millions of smallholder farmers and the communities they serve,” he added.
Since 2006, AGRA has worked to transform Africa’s smallholder farming from a struggle-to-survive to a business that thrives through efforts to develop and deliver high-yielding and locally-adapted seeds, improve soil fertility, upgrade storage facilities, improve access to markets, strengthen farmers’ associations, expand access to credit for farmers and suppliers, and advocate for national policies that benefit smallholder farmers and agribusinesses.
“There have been many exciting advances in data, satellite imagery, and machine learning for agriculture over the years. Until recently, very little of this technologies had been available to African farms due to the inability of farmers and governments to pay for them,” said president of AGRA, Dr. Agnes Kalibata.
Source: The Guardian