In the face of climate change, the agricultural sector in Africa needs to adapt its practices. Being able to accurately measure and predict soil humidity in their fields will allow farmers to prepare their irrigation schedules optimally and efficiently.
Sensor-based irrigation and machine learning algorithms can provide farmers with a solution to manage water usage more efficiently. However, current machine learning algorithms built on sensor data require a lot of data for proper training. Stable sensor data is difficult to obtain in rural Africa where many problems arise such as accessibility, limited battery power, lack of internet, humidity/heat problem.
The objective of this Zindi competition is to create a machine learning model capable of predicting the humidity for a particular plot in the next few days, using data from the past. A part of the challenge is to design algorithms that are resilient and can be trained with incomplete data (e.g. missing data points) and unclean data (e.g. lot of outliers).
This resulting model will enable farmers to anticipate water needs and prepare their irrigation schedules.
This competition is sponsored by Wazihub and Microsoft.
About Wazihub (www.wazihub.com)
WAZIHUB (in Swahili for Open-Hub) is an innovation project for Africa aiming to create an Open Hub of IoT and Big data cutting-edge and African-grade solutions, co-designed by African people where these solutions can then be adapted to match local service needs.
WAZIHUB brings experience to create a working environment to accelerate services based on collaborative knowledge generation and integration. The project uses a collaborative problem-solving and innovation approach to enable win-win outcomes for both EU and African partners while tackling key societal challenges and problems.
The project aims to iterate and extract value from value-added IoT innovative services based on the technologies developed in WAZIUP (www.waziup.eu) and FiWARE (www.fiware.org). WAZIHUB exploits and shares IoT Technology best-practices through IoT regional ecosystems made up of innovation communities and stakeholders (e.g. entrepreneurs, startups, tech hubs, SMEs)
About Microsoft (www.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.