Exploring the Role of Artificial Intelligence and Automation on Agrifood Systems
Opportunity type: Request for Information (RFI)
Deadline: 1 p.m. on July 23, 2021
Link to request: RFI 2020-01 Digital Frontiers - AI.pdf - Google Drive
Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications are rapidly evolving to include more complex and advanced tasks. As a result, the number of meaningful use cases relevant to the development sector are expanding and demonstrate significant potential to solve some of the world’s most prominent challenges.
In the agriculture sector, where increasing crop yield and improving resilience are key to economic development and poverty alleviation, AI applications can generate deeper insights and shorten feedback loops to support farmer decision making. For example, with a single photo captured on a smartphone, AI solutions can help farmers quickly identify crop infestation or disease and implement appropriate solutions. Further, as climate events become more extreme and unpredictable, farmers will require solutions to efficiently monitor crop health, manage water scarcity and assess soil quality. Smart automation tools that produce water reports and recommendations for specific localities present a boost to climate resilience efforts, along with substantial financial and logistical benefits for developing countries.
Despite these opportunities, the benefits of AI are predicted to be unevenly distributed, as it is estimated that China and North America will reap 70% of the total gains. This is, in part, due to the few dominant countries developing the required technology, as well as the various challenges to deploying AI in developing countries with weak technological infrastructure and limited data sources. In order to engage with AI and reap benefits for their respective agriculture sectors, countries must also have adequate access to digital devices, quality data and human capacity.
Given AI and automation’s potential to transform the agrifood systems around the globe, USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security seeks to better understand their likely impacts in the agriculture development space as a means of promoting inclusive economic growth. Digital Frontiers requests further information and analysis from interested parties about their organizations, their experience researching and analyzing these or similar issues, their suggestions for industry leaders and resources USAID should be consulting and their ideas for what types of questions USAID should be asking in relation to this topic. To learn more about this opportunity or respond to our RFI please download the PDF and submit an expression of interest in response to the requested information no later than 1 p.m. EDT on July 23, 2021.