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On 2nd November 2023, Professor Nicholas Ozor, the Executive Director of the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS), and Dr. Joseph Sang from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), key collaborators in the Managing Organization (Hub) for Responsible Artificial Intelligence for Agriculture and Food Systems (AI4AFS) Innovation Research Network in Africa project, were invited to the “Business Check Show” on KBC National Broadcast. Their invitation was to share valuable insights about the AI4AFS project and its profound impacts on agriculture and food systems in Africa. Prof. Ozor emphasized that the AI4AFS project is of paramount importance for the responsible advancement of homegrown AI research and innovations in agriculture and food systems to address the four key components of food security namely: food availability, food access, food utilization, and food stability.

This initiative is uniquely positioned to address pressing challenges in agriculture and food systems across the African continent. The project’s core objective is to establish, manage, and support an innovation research network specifically designed for AI applications in agriculture and food systems.

During the show, Prof. Ozor showcased some of the groundbreaking work carried out by ATPS grantees from various regions in Africa.

These projects are at the forefront of AI innovations designed to enhance agricultural practices and food security on the continent. The Executive Director also encouraged other innovators to seize opportunities provided through grants and various forms of funding to develop and deploy homegrown AI in agriculture.

By doing so, they can effectively scale up their AI and agriculture-related projects, ultimately contributing to sustainable solutions for food security in Africa.

A Focus on Indigenous Crops and Local Solutions

Prof. Ozor highlighted the critical need for AI and agriculture research that centers on indigenous African crops. He stressed that as researchers and innovators, the aim should be to create solutions that benefit indigenous Africans and favor crops that are regionally appropriate and on demand. The AI4AFS project hosted by the ATPS is driving this vision, aligning AI solutions with the unique needs and conditions of African agricultural practices.

Project Partners and Funders

The AI4AFS project is made possible through funding from the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and the Swedish International Development Agency. ATPS is leading the project’s implementation, in partnership with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Kenya and Kumasi Hive, Ghana.

Wrapping Up a Fruitful Discussion

Prof. Nicholas Ozor and Dr. Joseph Sang’s engaging dialogue underscored the transformative potential of this initiative, as they strive to address some of the most pressing challenges in the field. The broadcast offered a platform to communicate the project’s vision, success stories, and the broader mission of enhancing food security in Africa.

For more information about the AI4AFS project and ATPS’s commitment to the responsible development and deployment of AI innovations in agriculture, please visit ATPS website. Watch the full interview here.

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