The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals #2 is “Zero Hunger” by 2030. Hunger and malnutrition remain a significant barrier to development in many regions, particularly in Africa. Approximately 27.4% of the population in Africa was classified as severely food insecure in 2016, which is almost four times as high as any other region.
Accurate data are critical for counties striving to improve food security and agricultural growth. Sub-Saharan Africa in particular struggles with incomplete or unreliable data on the agricultural sector. In 2018, the international community organized to launch the 50 X 2030 initiative, a commitment to collect better farm data with the goal of ending hunger.
The objective of this competition is to create a machine learning model to classify fields by crop type using Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. The fields in this training set are along the Orange River, a major agricultural region in South Africa that has been stricken by drought in recent years.
The dataset contains 3,000+ fields total. You will have the satellite images of the entire region across 11 time slices in one year. Each of the fields are a polygon in a shape file. The crops growing in each of these fields were verified by a combination of in-person surveying and drones.
The relatively small size of some of the fields (compared to datasets of industrial farming in other countries like the US) may present a particular challenge to crop recognition, but the size of these fields is not unusual for Africa.
This resulting model will enable Farm Pin to help their clients including government entities monitor agricultural activity at a lower cost and more quickly. This is also a stepping stone to more advanced predictive analytics such as crop yield prediction.
This competition is sponsored by Farm Pin, Microsoft, Liquid Telecom, and Cortex Logic.
About Farm Pin (farmpin.com)
FarmPin provides farmer-friendly analytics, from space. Farmers can make better decisions with our maps & graphs of field health & moisture. We are based in sunny Cape Town and were incubated by AfroLabs and Agro Innovation Lab.
About Microsoft (microsoft.com)
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Microsoft has operated in Africa for more than 25 years. In that time they have built strong partnerships across the continent, helped bridge gaps in infrastructure, connectivity and capability, and are working to empower countries in Africa to digitally transform while creating sustained societal impact. Earlier this year, Microsoft opened Africa’s first hyper-scale data centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. Most recently, the company also announced the opening of two Africa Development Centers in Nairobi and Lagos, where world class African talent can create innovative solutions for local and global impact.
About Liquid Telecom (liquidtelecom.com)
Liquid Telecom is the leading independent data, voice and IP provider in eastern, central and southern Africa. It supplies fibre optic, satellite and international carrier services to Africa's largest mobile network operators, ISPs and businesses of all sizes. It also provides payment solutions to financial institutions and retailers, as well as award winning data storage and communication solutions to businesses across Africa and beyond. Put simply, we connect people.
About Cortex Logic (cortexlogic.com)
Cortex Logic is an African Artificial Intelligence (AI) software and solutions company that helps businesses thrive in the Smart Technology Era. We provide an AI Engine for Business that solves strategic and operationally relevant problems by leveraging Data Science, Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data & Analytics. We help platform businesses and corporates operationalise real word AI by unlocking the value from all available structured and unstructured data and supporting you through the change programme to deliver the step change and business advantage AI based technologies offer. We work in all major market segments with clients in banking, insurance, healthcare, mining, manufacturing, retail and tel coms.