The Lacuna Fund will implement a series of projects in the field of artificial intelligence and the agricultural sector in Africa. Projects that will participate in the evaluation of yields and the detection of diseases in several types of crops that are essential in the diet of many Africans.
Indeed, these agricultural artificial intelligence projects will produce data that will help address food security challenges, stimulate economic opportunities, and provide researchers, farmers, and policymakers with better and more reliable data.
They are designed to meet agricultural needs. Specifically, these include livestock management, fisheries, crop identification, yield estimation and disease detection in food security crops such as cassava, maize, beans, bananas, pearl millet and cocoa.
Several projects have already received funding and have already started. Among them, the project entitled « Eyes on the Ground: Providing training data on quality models via smartphones ». According to the website of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), this project will use smartphones to « create a unique dataset of geo-referenced crop images and labels on input use, crop management, phenology, crop damage and yields.
The Lacuna Fund is an initiative, co-founded by IDRC, the Rockefeller Foundation and Google, launched in July 2020 with 4 million Canadian dollars to support « the creation, expansion and maintenance of data sets for training or evaluation of machine learning models ».
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