AIF 2022: solutions to post-harvest losses thanks to the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence

(AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK) – Post-harvest losses (PPR) are one of the main weaknesses of the agricultural sector in Africa. This reality remains constant, while faced with food inflation, African countries are looking for relevant policies to increase food availability and reduce their dependence on the outside.

However, this challenge opens the way to several investment possibilities. Different segments of the value chain can thus generate economic opportunities. These include improving storage through the installation of warehouses that meet humidity and temperature standards. There is also packaging and agricultural processing through the supply of machinery for a first phase of processing highly perishable foodstuffs.

Faced with the issue of post-harvest losses, the African Development Bank has implemented several interventions that fall within the framework of its “Feed Africa” ​​strategy, one of its five strategic priorities called ” high5 “. These interventions have concerned, since 2016, loan approvals to countries not only to strengthen agricultural production but also to strengthen agricultural downstream through support for storage infrastructure, marketing and packaging of agricultural commodities.

Within the framework of the Africa Investment Forum, new opportunities are explored for agricultural development. These include the 4th industrial revolution (4IR) and its possible effects. According to Bank experts, the impact of the 4IR on agriculture could be profound and even more so in Africa where the population is expected to double by 2050 “.

There is no shortage of use cases for the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence to benefit post-harvest loss reduction in Africa. In Nigeria, Binkabi, a blockchain-based agricultural trade initiative, has developed in cooperation with Sterling Bank, a platform that allows farmers to deposit their crops in a warehouse, as opposed to the current situation in which they are often forced to sell them immediately after harvest. In exchange for their deposited crops, farmers receive a “tokenized” asset receipt which is stored on the Blockchain.

Another example, in Morocco, Visio-Green Africa, a subsidiary of the French company Visio-Green, launched in 2018 the first complete IoT system in Morocco. The aim is to have a smart irrigation system, to give farmers the possibility to manage their fields remotely in a simple way, and to collect or store different types of data to manage yields more efficiently.

The African Bank has also implemented the RASME suite of tools (Remote appraisal, supervision, monitoring and evaluation) based on the KoBoToolbox platform, an open-source solution developed by researchers affiliated with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. It allows remote collection and analysis of data, via mobile interfaces – tablets, mobile phones or laptops – on projects carried out in remote or difficult-to-access areas. RASME is currently implemented in about thirty African countries including Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Gabon, Cameroon…

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AIF 2022: solutions to post-harvest losses thanks to the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence

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