Artificial intelligence holds promise for Africa's agriculture
Artificial intelligence (AI) holds promise for Africa's agriculture, tackling trade imbalances and enhancing productivity, African Business said in a report.
A majority of African countries are losing billions of dollars of foreign exchange annually through food imports.
In 2022, 38 countries had a negative trade balance in agricultural products, with Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco and Angola leading the ranking with more than $3bn lost over the year.
Set this against two important facts: that agriculture remains a main source of revenue for many households, contributing close to 23% of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP and employing more than 60% of its population; and that the continent has 65% of the world’s remaining uncultivated arable land.
Recent disruptions in grain supplies due to Russia’s war with Ukrainian have focused minds on the need for agricultural reform in Africa.
These disruptions coincided with a year marked by unprecedented development in the field of AI.
AI’s use in almost all sectors, including agriculture, is seen as a powerful productivity-enabler. But can AI really increase Africa’s production of local food and curb trade imbalances?
Though AI has recently been the subject of much hype, it was being considered as a tool to help farmers improve their income at least two years ago.
Nigeria-based Rural Farmers Hub, which received a $200,000 seed investment last year, is providing farmers with advisory services guided by satellite-based remote imagery.