European data scientists are teaming up with Kenyan farmers to use the fruits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to drive the next agricultural one. Although the Green Revolution -between 1950 and the late 1960s- produced massive increases in crop yields throughout Asia and Latin America, even today, many smallholders –farmers who produce crops on small pieces of land – struggle to afford and utilize the mechanized equipment and agricultural chemicals that came with that revolution.
When it comes to Africa, there is still great potential for productivity increases in agriculture. The number of small-holder farmers in Kenya could be between 5 million and 9 million people according to some estimates.
In order to see how artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data could help those farmers, French consultancy firm Capgemini teamed up with a Kenyan social enterprise in the Kakamega region in Western Kenya.
Capgemini has developed Project FARM (Financial and Agricultural Recommendation Models), at their Applied Innovation Exchange Collaboration Zone in the Netherlands, to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to crunch farming data and then send insights out to farmers’ cell phones.