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Roundtable Discussion on Spatial Based Artificial Intelligence (AI) PeMost Tool

In a groundbreaking collaboration, researchers, farmers, and policymakers converged at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) on February 7th, 2024, to delve into the potential of Spatial Artificial Intelligence (AI) in revolutionizing agriculture. The Round Table Discussion centered on the innovative PeMost Tool, developed under the Managing Organization (Hub) for Responsible Artificial Intelligence for Agriculture and Food Systems (AI4AFS) Innovation Research Network in Africa project spearheaded by the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS).

The PeMost Tool, a brainchild of grantees from various organizations including icipe and Geospatial Research International, aims to monitor Tomato Leaf Miner (Tuta Absoluta) in Machakos County, Kenya. This spatial-based AI web tool is poised to transform smallholder tomato farming by providing real-time data for Integrated Pest Management Solutions, paving the way for sustainable agriculture and food systems across Africa.

The discussion, attended by various stakeholders ranging from researchers to agricultural scientists, delved into crucial topics. Dr. Hila Manzi, the Project’s Principal Investigator, shed light on the increasing adoption of AI and remote sensing among Kenyan farmers. Emphasizing the need for accessible real-time data for predictive analysis. Dr. Joseph Sang, the Co-PI, provided insights into the policy framework surrounding AI and Geoinformation applications in agriculture, particularly in Kenya.

Key points of discussion included the ethical implications of AI, regulatory frameworks, and the challenges of research costs and low awareness of AI adoption in business processes. The enthusiasm and commitment of participants were palpable, underscoring the potential of AI to revolutionize agricultural practices in Kenya and beyond.

The event was hosted at JKUAT’s Innovation Prototyping Integrated Centre (iPIC) and epitomized collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Representatives from ATPS, including Mr. Wentland Muhatia and Ms. Susan Mburu, played pivotal roles in driving the dialogue forward, ensuring a successful and enriching exchange of ideas.

As the sun set on the Round Table Discussion, it left a sense of optimism and possibility. With continued collaboration and innovation, the fusion of AI and Geoinformation holds the promise of transforming agriculture, improving livelihoods, and ensuring food security for generations to come.

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