A food security project set up by Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has been selected among the five best projects at the 2021 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prize competition.
The competition is an effective mechanism to evaluate projects and activities that use information and communications technology (ICT) to drive sustainable development.
The project, Information and Communication Technology for Comprehensive Societal Development in the Field of Agriculture, targets more than 21 million users across the Middle East.
It aims to use ICT applications to spread specialised agricultural knowledge in Arabic in Egypt and the Middle East.
The project also aims to manage specialised knowledge bases through agricultural experts, and use smart knowledge applications to provide technology-based agricultural services. This comes in support of the state’s efforts in improving agricultural production, achieving food security, and increasing farmers’ income.
The project was launched by the Central Administration for Community Development at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, in cooperation with a number of partners.
These include: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Egypt’s Ministries of Agriculture, and Environment; the National Research Center; Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources; the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation; and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at the UN.
Additionally, the “Qaryat Net” project at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the International Development Research Center (IDRC) were also involved.
The project consists of three integrated pillars that include the “Our Land” portal, focused on establishing the importance of knowledge for the development of society. This will see a sustainable mechanism for the production, management, and updating of Arabic content presented in the agricultural sector.
Meanwhile, further work has been conducted to strengthen knowledge-based partnerships and build a knowledge society.
The project provides an online expert systems service, which relies on artificial intelligence (AI) in simulating human experience. The service can be used to find further information on inquiries, answers, and solutions to agricultural problems, whether for farmers or agricultural extension workers.
It aims to improve agricultural production, and thus contribute to overcoming the problem of food security in Egypt.
The project also encourages the introduction of advanced smart applications using the latest technologies for smart water management. This includes conservation and protection of groundwater resources by managing and collecting data from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors on wells in targeted urban areas.
It also sees the monitoring and analysis of water consumption patterns, and supporting decision-makers with a real-time dashboard.
It is noteworthy that the project was selected among the five most voted projects in the WSIS Prize competition after strong competition from 360 pioneering projects in 18 categories in the development field.
The project was also among the 1,270 projects nominated for the award in the category of international and regional cooperation, after passing the final stages of voting in March.