Sama Harnesses AI for Sustainable Agriculture

For agriculture in East Africa to sustainably feed a growing population, farmers must adopt AI tools to enhance productivity, increase yields, protect environments, and reduce costs. Sama, a leader in data annotation for AI models, has seen firsthand improvements through deployments in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. Building on this experience, Sama plans to support initiatives like the East African Community’s Vision 2050 to revolutionize agricultural sustainability in Africa.

Speaking at the launch of a report on precision agriculture, Annepeace Alwala, Sama’s Vice President of Global Service Delivery, highlighted the tremendous opportunity and pressing need for AI to assist farmers. She emphasized AI’s role in addressing global challenges such as reducing emissions and feeding a growing population sustainably.

“Agriculture faces numerous challenges, including increased food demand, food safety concerns, decreasing agricultural land, and labor shortages. Our work with clients worldwide shows that computer vision applications using Sama-quality data can help overcome these challenges. These applications automate tasks like crop monitoring, weed control, livestock health, and pesticide use,” Alwala said.

Weeds, pests, and diseases are significant obstacles to achieving the productivity needed to meet global food demand. Annually, up to 40% of crop production is lost to pests, costing over $220 billion in related plant diseases. AI models evaluated by Sama help identify pests, diseases, and weeds, improving crop management, reducing pesticide usage, and increasing productivity. For example, an autonomous machine by Carbon Robotics can cover 15 to 20 acres a day, removing over 100,000 weeds an hour using carbon dioxide lasers.

Drone technology, enhanced by advancements in sensors and computer vision models, is increasingly used to monitor crops and spray pesticides. This technology helps farmers make informed decisions about crop rotation, irrigation, and pesticide use. Early detection allows for quick action to prevent widespread damage. Sama, in collaboration with Precision AI, developed a computer vision model for drones that can identify images at 0.55mm resolution while flying at 50mph.

“With the increasing challenges faced by the agricultural sector in East Africa, our partnership with Precision AI demonstrates the transformative power of AI in farming. We plan to deploy these solutions to enhance crop monitoring and optimize resource distribution. Our goal is to inspire similar advancements within the region,” Alwala added.

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