By Hatch Works
AI is bursting with possibility. Across the world, AI is improving the lives of citizens in multiple economic and social sectors such as healthcare, education, transport and so on. SLASSOM (Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies) drafted the policy framework on AI in June 2019 to support the IT/BPM sector’s growth in AI. AI policy framework in Sri Lanka includes creating awareness about AI and its uses in different sectors such as agriculture, introducing regulations to maintain confidence, safety and the appropriate use of AI and equipping society on how to use it
In India, 175 farmers in Andra Pradesh were able to use AI to sow seeds in a test project that was initiated by Microsoft and ICRISAT
Similarly, in Xinjiang province in China, drones spray pesticides in cotton fields that are over 1544 square miles at once making the process time-efficient and resulting in higher output.
In Sri Lanka, Some of the areas that AI can add value are in yield forecasting, price indexing, authenticating the integrity of the value chain (such as tracing chemical intervention in the product lifestyle).
Compared with the rest of the world, Sri Lanka is far behind in using data science in agriculture. Speaking about the future “Agriculture depends a lot on many hardware solutions. Enabling software solutions such as AI requires that we already set up the necessary hardware solutions.
The Hatch Mentorship program and in-house accelerators such as GLX (Good Life Accelerator) carried out by Hatch Works and German Development Corporation (GIZ) are geared up to help startups who want to use technology in agriculture.
‘Wawamu’ is a case study of such startup, which builds hydroponic systems to grow plants, especially in urban settings that don’t have a lot of space.
These systems are built to take care of themselves which means the plants need to only have sunlight (the system ensures that the plant receives water and so on). The company’s ultimate aim is for everyone to be able to eat organic food no matter where they live.
Sri Lanka is an ideal testing base for to attract Global Technology which can then be launched to the rest of South Asia.