The Use of Digital Technologies in Agriculture07.09.2023
From October till June 2023 OAV implemented the project “Use of Digital Technologies in Agriculture” with focus on India and Indonesia. A project that promoted the transfer of knowledge between three continents: Asia, Africa and Germany.
The application of digital technologies and the extensive use of digital data has important impacts on agriculture, environmental conditions, and socio-economic systems worldwide. The project “Use of Digital Technologies in agriculture“ was designed to facilitate know-how transfer and discussions on feasible applications of digital technologies in agriculture between Asia, Afrika and Germany. It mainly addressed stakeholders from universities, research institutes and the business community from the Asian partner countries India and Indonesia but also partner institutions from African countries, namely Morocco, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon.
In fall 2022, in cooperation with Steinbeis Research gGmbH and the support of the Central Association of Germany’s Electro and Digital Industry (ZVEI), OAV started implementing the project with focus on Asia. The project was funded and supported by the Business Scouts for Development programme (Business Scouts for Development | BMZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
By June 2023 OAV had conducted four extensive expert seminars, one dialogue event, one closing event and six training sessions on artificial intelligence (AI) in agriculture for its partners from Indonesia and India. In Indonesia OAV mainly worked together with The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), and in India with The MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. In parallel to the above mentioned events working groups were formed in order to develop new project ideas and business models in the area of digitalization in agriculture. The core of the working groups consisted of experts from India and Indonesia who were coached by Bright and Bold, a company from Munich with the mission to empower and connect. The new business models, the presentations and recordings of the expert seminars, as well as of the dialog and closing event are available on the project website: digital.thinktank-food.com/login/index.php
The expert seminars served to inform and discuss the current state of technological knowledge on specific topics on digitalization in agriculture. Mainly researchers, company representatives, NGOs as well as other stakeholders from India, Indonesia and Germany were invited to present and discuss latest developments. The seminars were joined by experts from all three partner countries (Germany, India, Indonesia) and from Africa. All actively shared their views in the discussion rounds. A recurring question in the discussions was how smallholders can also benefit from the latest technological developments. The topics of the expert seminars were the following:
- Digital Technologies in Plant Cultivation and Phytosanitary Diagnosis (December 2022)
- The Use of Drones in Agriculture for SME Farmers (January & February 2023)
- Precision Agriculture for Smallholder Farmers (March 2023)
- Renewable Energy in Smart Farming (April 2023)
The dialogue event and closing event served to provide a general overview of the newest developments in the three countries Indonesia, India and Germany. In addition, the working groups had the opportunity to pitch their jointly developed project ideas and business plans. In Indonesia two new project ideas were developed: The “Citrus Orchard Project” aims at detecting diseases, predicting yields and evaluating the quality of citrus orchards. The generated valid data brings the farmer in a high bargaining position when selling his product. The second project idea “Artificial Intelligence Driven Pruning Technology for Sustainable Cocoa Farm Management” is influenced by an existing practice in Ghana, where proper pruning is an indicator of sustainability certification programs. The provided digital technology aims at assisting farmers to properly prune their cocoa trees. This allows them to better control plant diseases and increase productivity. In India the project “Agriculture Cyber Physical Systems for Crops” was developed. This is a system developed specifically for agriculture. It can collect detailed and timely information about climate, soil, crops, water, fertilizers, pests, diseases, etc. with high granularity. It can also assist farmers in decision making to manage their production inputs more efficiently and accurately. More details on the newly developed projects, can be found on the project plattform. The videos and presentations of the pitches are saved there.
During the six expert seminars and the dialogue and closing event, more than 30 experts mainly from Asia and Germany gave a presentation, while more than 400 people from mainly Asia, Africa and Germany registered for the events and round about 300 attended them.
In the meantime, the project has officially been completed and the following goals have been achieved:
- The discussions in the virtual events have shown that the know-how transfer between Asian, African and German experts was facilitated
- New cross-continental contacts were established, and a platform provided to foster these
- Thirteen employees of the partner institutions in India and Indonesia successfully completed the AI trainings and are now able to incorporate the new skills into their daily work
- Three concrete new project ideas related to digital technologies in agriculture were developed
Through the project, OAV was able to gain new partners in India and Indonesia, as well as strengthen its partnership with ZVEI and Steinbeis Research gGmbH. In addition, some OAV member companies actively participated in the virtual events and were able to expand their network and know-how as a result.