Despite the challenges, Arab digital agriculture is launched under the leadership of 6 Saudi projects

A few years ago, many in the Arab world considered food production through artificial intelligence applications to be a matter of science fiction, but it has become a reality after Saudi Arabia began implementing six projects related to artificial intelligence , to seasonal fruits, honey and fodder, and others related to greenhouses and the exploration of diseases and pests, Egypt has a project to produce potatoes by monitoring satellite images.
Traditional agriculture in the Arab world faces a real challenge in its ability to produce, without the need for modern technology and the use of artificial intelligence applications to produce “digital agriculture”.
Given the ongoing climate changes and their direct and indirect effects on the environmental elements, the various natural and water resources, and therefore the agricultural system in particular, and with the aim of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development goals in light of these challenges, agricultural production systems must at the same time address a set of overlapping challenges, which are represented in: Sustainably increasing productivity and income in agriculture, building resilience against the effects of climate change and, where possible, contributing to mitigation of climate change.
To meet these three challenges, what is known as smart agriculture “digital agriculture” has emerged as one of the main alternatives and solutions to face climate changes, as it aims to use the least area of ​​land and use water to obtain the best production of the targeted crops.
Digital agriculture uses ICTs and ecosystem data to support and develop the timely provision of information and services to farmers.
And as armies of robots move into the American countryside, promising a boom in the future of food production by cutting weeds from farmland at a rate of 12 miles per hour, through the use of artificial intelligence, or in Europe, which is the largest market for digital agriculture, it is just It looks somewhat different in the Arab world, as some countries have noticed the importance of digital agriculture, and have already embarked on technical agricultural projects, and Saudi Arabia and Egypt are among the most prominent Arab countries that recently experiences.

Saudi experience

The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture seeks to use artificial intelligence techniques in agricultural projects, and has a plan to activate a number of agricultural projects, an estimated six projects that it intends to implement and link to artificial intelligence .
The ministry told Al-Eqtisadiah that it is planned to use artificial intelligence techniques in greenhouses, seasonal fruits, honey production, the discovery of diseases and pests of some plants, in addition to the cultivation of fodder, and the legalization of agriculture for some crops .
The ministry has indicated that artificial intelligence is used in agricultural projects related to agricultural production, crop control, plant pest treatment and plant disease control in greenhouses. Field model schools that use Internet of Things and artificial intelligence technologies in agricultural operations of irrigation, crop fertilization and pest control, and there is also a plan to take advantage of artificial intelligence in the treatment of plants and the distinction of pests of rose plants.
There is also a plan to take advantage of artificial intelligence to predict and monitor agricultural pests and diseases, in addition to a plan to establish model field farms that use artificial intelligence techniques.
Saleh Al-Dakhil, the official spokesperson of the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, confirms that the ministry seeks and encourages the general trend towards digital transformation in the agricultural sector, which achieves many benefits as a result of digital transformation, including the sustainability of agricultural resources through the dissemination of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence in operational management agricultural sector for a large segment of farmers.
Al-Dakhil added that the decrease in operating costs through the introduction of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence, modern procedures in the treatment of plants without referring to specialists, and therefore there will be an acceleration in the treatment of diseases, and therefore the loss of rose plants will reduce. .

Competitive farming techniques

Not far from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology has been working to develop agricultural policies that contribute to the optimal consumption of water in the agricultural sector.
It also supported research related to the transfer, localization and development of competitive, environmentally friendly agricultural technologies to serve sustainable agricultural development, and support the Saudi agricultural economy to continue providing diverse food sources, through the production of high-quality and productive barley fodder, and limited water consumption through hydroponics and textile farming techniques Production of high-yielding and high-quality crop lines, with limited water consumption through genetic techniques.
It also launched the Food Security Program through Agricultural Techniques in Desert Areas, with the aim of developing agricultural technologies that will achieve sustainable food security for the Kingdom and economic development in collaboration with a number of government agencies, universities and agricultural companies.

3 Egyptian smart projects

On the other hand, Egypt has experience in digital agriculture, and she told Al-Eqtisadiah the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation: “We have projects that use artificial intelligence applications to a large extent, and the ministry recently in the field expanded. of the use of modern technology in the agricultural field.”
The ministry added, “We have implemented a number of projects, including three projects to inventory pest-free areas, especially for potato farms, and we are following this project electronically by tracking satellite images to serve farmers and help them be successful in their projects. We have a project to use the application of artificial intelligence to communicate with farmers and farmers through an application.” Hodhud, “which is an application that conveys information and we try to help the farmer by quickly conveying information to him and all the services that the farmer needs.”
Dr. Muhammad Al-Qurash, the official spokesman of the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, reviewed the nature of the work of the “Hudhud” application and noted that it connects the Egyptian farmer and farmer with the ministry and responds to inquiries about planting through pictures, voice or text messages, and provide farmers with good recommendations by communicating with farmers. What makes farmers aware of climate changes and how to deal with them by providing them with all the necessary information.
“We use artificial intelligence applications to count and monitor the crops grown through satellite images, and we look forward to this project having positive results in the near future,” said Al-Shark.

farmer’s card

The official spokesperson of the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture confirmed that the use of artificial intelligence applications in Egyptian agricultural projects is many and varied, but “we are currently looking at the file with a more comprehensive view by establishing a database that is fully and all using modern technological techniques, where we issued the farmer card, which is a modern and digital integrated technical system for everyone.Regarding the Egyptian farmer, it is linked to the financial inclusion system, and the farmer gets all his entitlements and needs through agricultural requirements through the map quickly, directly and without any effort, and this has a positive reflection to serve the farmer and develop his productivity and cultivation.”

smart move

The Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation seeks to achieve a qualitative leap in the agricultural services system and the system of communication with farmers, to be all electronic and use various technologies, including artificial intelligence applications, as some farms have actually started to make artificial use. intelligence methods through sensors and sensors and the use of soil analysis tools and identification The different needs of plant nutrition and the scope is wide and open to the development of the agricultural sector.
Al-Qarsh explained that the ministry, through the project to improve the marketing capabilities of small farmers in the Egyptian countryside “Prime”, launched a platform for marketing the products of small farmers in the Egyptian countryside, “Shari”, which translated into ten languages, working to improve their marketing capabilities, training and capacity building, and concluding contracts between farmers and companies and establishing links between farmers through a formal structure of dialogue with major traders and exporters, helping them to products to sell more.
The platform also grants accreditation certificates from the three main companies to accredit quality worldwide, and the platform is linked to the “Kuwaitization” system, which is applied by the agricultural quarantine, and therefore it automatically meets the conditions of the agricultural quarantine and plant. health, since it is linked to the financial inclusion system for the Egyptian farmer, and therefore a higher guarantee Quality and best price and grants the contractor for these products follow-up products from the beginning of the production stages.

The impact of digital agriculture

Dr. Sayed Khalifa, Head of the Egyptian Farmers Syndicate, believes that digital agriculture has many benefits if digital transformation processes, the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence are integrated to develop the sector by building a seed bank for strategic crops, and building of a database for the agricultural system that includes food supplies and agricultural grain supplies, And tree and agricultural wealth, types of crops, types of soil, needs of crop structures for water and irrigation, appropriate temperatures, livestock and their diversity.
The Egyptian Farmers Syndicate pointed out that among the benefits of digital agriculture, the identification of arable lands, the determination of the nature of the lands, the types and proportions of minerals and elements in the soil, their suitability and suitability for crops, importing climate data for agricultural areas predicting weather conditions, studying the biodiversity of agricultural areas and providing information about organisms Living in the area and their impact on agricultural crops.
Khalifa believes that adapting information technology to serve the agricultural sector is the most prominent benefit of digital agriculture, in addition to establishing an electronic agricultural marketing system, building a giant data system for the nature and patterns of agricultural consumption for all regions, and to create the database to know the ideal agricultural productivity in terms of yield and cost, which contributes to increasing profitability and return on investment, in addition to helping the system to know the agricultural quantities that can be carried out without affecting the national food supply , which increases the export rate and improves returns from the agricultural sector.

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