AI-Powered Robots for Smart Farming – Ghana’s Bid to AI Advancement

By Dr. Michael Owusu, Chief Operating Officer of the KGL group
Article Dr. Michael Owusu, Chief Operating Officer of the KGL group
APR 19, 2023 LISTEN
Dr. Michael Owusu, Chief Operating Officer of the KGL group

The success of fintech across Africa especially in Ghana has opened the doors for other technologies in the region.

After all, mobile technology has permitted people to come out of old-fashioned infrastructure and get improvement in this segment.

But the agenda is that if AI offers the same benefits in farming? Are AI-powered robots helpful in smart farming?

So, the simple answer to this question is that smart farming is a handful in countries like Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, etc. However, this technology is still to be introduced in other African countries.

These are little advancements that these countries are experiencing to exploit AI technology in the agricultural field.

AI Coming to Africa
Artificial intelligence uses algorithmic techniques that can help humans to make an automatic pattern and apply it to increase efficiency.

In African countries like Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria, the factor of AI adaption is rapidly increasing. Although it is on a small scale it looks promising and is attracting a lot of corporations.

The advancement in the agriculture department has not only made it easy for the farmers to increase their profit and also get secure food but also increased the efficiency rate.

The project of taking AI-powered robots is funded by Google and the main aim of this initiative is to overcome the challenges in research and engineering as well as improve the AI ecosystem.

Smart Farming
Bots are now able to grow your food and it is already happening everywhere. In Western Africa, this technology is growing very fast.

As per the research of an agriculture engineer Kit Franklin, one percent of the population is producing food for the other 99 percent. This is a big challenge for the farmers and here technology has made it easy for them to tackle this issue.

In Ghana, a nonprofit organization Zois’ is providing opportunities by investing in the sector of agriculture and improving the smart farming system. The overall goal of this approach is to strengthen agriculture and make it profitable.

Practical Applications of AI Robots in Ghana

No doubt, crop yields have become more efficient nowadays if compared with the crops 50 years ago and it's all because of technology and smart farming.

In this section, we will talk about some top AI applications relevant to smart farming that proves that Ghana is bidding on AI development.

Intelligent Spraying
Computer vision is quite good in figuring out the syndromes in the fields and also avoids making new disorders. An automated spraying system also makes it possible to fertilize the crop uniformly.

If we take the real-time example, UAV sprays are efficient with the time, area, and amount of chemicals sprayed.

This is an easy way of spraying the corps but it can be a little tricky at one point. Having to assign a particular task to multiple flight trajectories can be difficult.

But it doesn’t mean that the game is over for robotic farming. You need to become perfect at using AI technology and it will become quite easy to manage.

Automatic Weeding
AI sprayers are not only helpful in spraying crops but can also help in eliminating weeds and other unwanted plants.

Manually, it may take a lot of time for spotting unwanted plants but the computerized machine will easily find and remove the weed.

So, there is no need to waste time putting too much effort because the entire operation can be done in a sustainable way.

Insect and Plant Disease Detection
With the help of computer vision, you can detect diseases in crops. Along with that, it is also easy to check the type of insects and their amount. The AI technology robots will visit the entire field and check out the number of bugs.

Similarly, if we take an example of some apple trees and look to detect that is black rot; the AI-powered robots will again be helpful in this regard.

These robots are armed with cameras and smartphones that will take pictures of the apples that are being diseased.

Soil monitoring
Considering the health of the soil is also important to increase productivity and boost the profit rate. Therefore, AI soil monitoring applications can be used in this regard.

In the past, the quality of soil and crops were checked by a human which was quite a time-taking process and mostly the results were not accurate.

However, with the help of soil monitoring technology, you can track the quality of soil, predict the yield in that year and most importantly figure out crop malnutrition.

Aerial surveys
Finally, we will talk about the Aerial survey in smart framing that will not only provide you the images of the crop from the top but also notify the inappropriate happenings in the field.

Moreover, you can also boost the efficiency of pesticide spraying by keeping an eye. So, this is another amazing advantage that AI-powered robots are offering in smart farming.

Where AI Gets Success
AI solutions are successfully installed in Western Africa and are mostly focused on the agriculture and healthcare sectors.

Ghana leads the African countries in AI adoption because of the strong ecosystem.

According to estimation, over one hundred companies in Africa are introducing AI solutions or developing new solutions.

The deceptive success of these AI technologies in these African countries has made it easy for people to reduce workforce challenges.

Ghana Government Support on Smart Farming

The government of Ghana has made it a national priority to take the AI-powered robots in the country to an upper level and is taking valuable measures for it.

Ghana has 24+ tech hubs in the country most in sub-Saharan Africa and is paying attention to smart farming.

Other than that, the government of Ghana is also in contact with other countries and taking support at a global level that facilitates them in financing.

The major reason behind this decision is that the country is not able to fulfill its development goals right now. However, their promising approach will make them able to fix these issues in near future.

Dr. Michael Owusu is the Chief Operating Officer of the KGL group.