2020 Winner

Croppie – the PhotoCropping app

Peru, Uganda

Scientific approaches to farm agronomy have greatly increased global yields. Yet high data collection costs have primarily driven insights from and benefits to commercial actors focussed on larger-scale agricultural systems. Smallholders rarely benefit from prediction insights. Big Data/ AI benefits remain largely inaccessible to the world’s 500 million smallholders, who typically manage significant socio-economic and climatic risks with no access to external data. A bottleneck is the standardized and efficient collection of reliable data to support yield estimates. COVID-19 exacerbates this.

The project will test a low-cost way to generate large volumes of ground-truthing photographic data, while positioning smallholder farmers as the primary beneficiaries of the data and predictive insights generated.

Our app, Croppie, will gamify real-time photo data collection from smallholders by incentivising PhotoCropping, i.e. taking and sharing photos of their crops to:

  1. Generate low-cost, high volumes of real-time primary data from smallholder farmers that supports AI/ML model training;
  2. Cost-effectively empowering smallholders with predictive AI-generated yield insights in actionable formats, for more effective planning, risk management and resilience.

The pilot will focus on coffee. At scale, Croppie aims to create a thriving online smallholder community, particularly for youth agri-entrepreneurs, incentivized to upload and share high volumes of real-time on-farm images. Users will benefit from tailored AI-driven insights, initially coffee yield predictions, to inform on-farm planning, improvement and risk management.

Simultaneously, farmers can connect with peers – locally but also internationally, be inspired by best practice, and incentivized to share photos of their innovations / excellent farm practices, e.g through Strava-style ‘Best farmer’ leaderboards, scored using yield prediction data; Farmer ‘InnoCentive’ innovation competitions; and prizes / rewards for excellence.

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.

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