2019 Finalist

Farmer’s friend


Farmer’s friend is a tool designed to improve farming efficiency and enable higher crop yields by using big data sets and user location along with machine learning algorithms and predictive analysis models to provide farmers with daily guidance on activities from pre-planting to post-harvesting. Farmer’s friend version one will be centered on rice farming and piloted as a mobile device with SMS, USSD and IVR service to over 5,000 rice farmers in Africa through a partnership with AfricaRice.

Inefficient and unsustainable crop management and processing practices by farmers due to limited knowledge and climate change effects is leading to low yields, poor agriculture output and an increased threat to global food security.

Farmer’s friend proposes to address this situation by providing farmers with access to insights, guidance on good practices and climate-smart information critical to farming success. It is conceived as a dedicated mobile device designed with affordable hardware pieces, a custom proprietary operating system (OS) and a revolutionary Agritech AI system named “Omni AI.”

Farmer’s friend will aim at improving farming efficiency and enabling higher crop yields by using historical data sets (weather patterns, soil maps, pest and disease outbreaks, harvest trends, market price trends, etc.), real-time data, and user geographical location along with various machine learning algorithms and predictive analysis models to provide users (primarily farmers) with daily real-time agricultural guidance on all crop farming activities from pre-planting to post-harvesting including among others: best crops to plant per location, best farming practices, expected rainfall patterns, early pest and disease detection, and market prices.

To increase user appeal and market reach, project partner Limitless AI will be employing low-tech access channels so that farmers can access most of the services provided by Farmer’s Friend through SMS, USSD, and IVR on any phone type without the use of the internet.




The Inspire Challenge is an initiative to challenge partners, universities, and others to use CGIAR data to create innovative pilot projects that will scale. We look for novel approaches that democratize data-driven insights to inform local, national, regional, and global policies and applications in agriculture and food security in real time; helping people–especially smallholder farmers and producers–to lead happier and healthier lives.