What does AI and renewable energy have to do with Agriculture in Africa 🧑💻⚡️🌽
brief article with Company spotlights:
Welcome to the “Fourth Agricultural Revolution” 💡
According to the Global Hunger index, an estimated amount of 690 million (8.9% of world population) have went hungry back in 2019 and the number is increasing year by year. Of which 267 million of those people are in Africa. Considering the fact that Africa holds 60% of the worlds uncultivated arable land , why is this the case? and still 14% ( 32 million tons of food) of food produced in Africa gets lost. Theres a lot of numbers and statistics but basically theres a problem when it comes to using Africa’s arable land which is uncultivated and filled with drought as the world get’s warmer — but have no fear , if AI and renewable energy can find a niche — we might just find a way to reduce the amount of food getting lost for a growing continent whilst harmoniously harvesting with nature
Artificial Intelligence 🧑💻
There is absolutely no doubt that agriculture is a major contributor to African economies but as I mentioned above their are obstacles for Africa to benefit from such uncultivated land , including unpredictable rainfall , droughts and floods as well as pest and disease control.
However with the use of AI, the ability to predict rainfall and droughts becomes more reachable ,pest and disease control becomes much easier to identify.
“These robots are able to eliminate 80% of the volume of the chemicals normally sprayed on the crops and bring down the expenditure of herbicide by 90%”
AI has many different approaches it is looking into such as the ability for
- AI and machine learning to improve crop yield prediction through real-time sensor data and visual analytics data from drones.
- Yield mapping is an agricultural technique that relies on supervised machine learning algorithms to find patterns in large-scale data sets and understand the orthogonality of them in real-time
- making AI and machine learning-based smart tractors, agribots and robotics a viable option for many remote agricultural operations that struggle to find workers.
- Improving the track-and-traceability of agricultural supply chains by removing roadblocks to getting fresher, safer crops to market is a must-have today
Company spotlight 💡
Companies like Agrivi are leveraging data and current AI to create a management platform and statistical basis for farmers, supply chain indicators of certain crops as well as current sales in the market. With the increase in mobile penetration over the African continent, AI is able to benefit rural farmers at a large scale — to the point of growing businesses by cutting out many middle men that usually happens in African agriculture.. sounds like a fair trade🧐
Different Renewable energy methods☀️
With the use of decentralized renewable energy like solar powered- mills , solar powered refrigerators, water pumps , cold-storage and agro-processing will be one of the many ways to cultivate land that uses renewable energy — using the power of the sun and wind to enhance their farming capabilities and lifestyle overall. Using such methods allow rural farmers that are off the grid to produce electricity. The current food system contributes almost 29% of greenhouse gas emissions — fortunately many innovations are happening in this space when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emitted.
Are Micro-grids the answer? 🧐to power rural farmland
Micro-grids refer to energy produced in a localized electricity grid , which operates independently from the national/main grid. Most often Micro-grids are capable of withstanding any natural disasters and can be placed almost anywhere where they are resources of the sun and wind as well other renewable sources such as organic waste ( found on almost any farmland).
Sounds too good to be true ? why didn’t we do this in the first place? well in turns out that solar panels and other materials needed to produce renewable energy were once too expensive for rural farmers. But with the current trend and the reduction in the cost of solar panels and other sources that is set to change.
Want to find out how Solar , turbines and hydro and other sources actually work check out my article I wrote for more.
Company spotlight : Powerhive
Powerhive is operating in African countries like Kenya to develop “scalable, bankable off-grid utility solutions to create a future where everyone has access to clean energy and the opportunities that come with it”
Using the Micro-grids to provide off-grid energy to areas and people who never had access to such energy before. Farmers who have access to energy in such areas are able to increase yields by 60% — able to feed Africa’s 2.5 billion people by the year 2050.
Other companies like Sistema bio are using a bio-digester to produce gas from animal waste. Acting the same as your stomach , the waste is paired with bacteria and breaks down — during this process, the by product , methane gas, rises and is captured to produce gas for cooking , machinery ( specifically agri machines) and bio fertilizer that can be used for crop yield..
So how does this all tie in ?
One example of using these technologies together is when I used machine learning to predict grid stability for renewable energy sources which can ultimately change the way the world looks at renewables in the coming years. Artificial intelligence is able to help us predict the chances of the grid being either stable or unstable using data that’s collected from previous days of the grid as well as weather data to predict weather the balance of supply and demand will produce a stable grid.
It is examples like the above where both AI and renewable energy can have a massive impact for the future of both technologies — taking into account the potentials to solve and produce amazing innovations in Africa and other developing nations.
I hope you liked this brief article , feel free to check out what else I have written and whats to come !
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