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Esri and Microsoft collaborate on sustainable agriculture development in Africa

Extreme weather events linked to climate change are increasingly threatening the security of food and water supply across the globe. Africa, already struggling with low agricultural production and heavily degraded soils, is disproportionally affected.

To help support government and nonprofit organizations on the continent address these challenges, Esri, the global player in location intelligence, has collaborated with Microsoft on a sustainable agriculture development initiative in Africa. Together, Esri and Microsoft will create and launch technology solutions enabling organizations in Africa to perform crop-type mapping at scale to improve agricultural management.

“Microsoft and Esri have a long history of working together, including a recent initiative to create global land-cover maps through the Planetary Computer Program, featuring a catalog of global environmental data from Esri’s ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World,” said Richard Budden, Esri’s deputy general manager for the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. “We are excited to now extend that collaboration to support sustainable agriculture development in Africa.”

Across the African continent, there is an urgent need to improve agricultural productivity. Deeper understanding of the current agricultural landscape, close monitoring of crop conditions throughout the growing season, and mitigation of climate change impacts will all contribute to better production and food security. Crop patterns and health can be identified, extracted, and monitored seasonally by combining Esri’s geospatial artificial intelligence (GeoAI) capabilities, satellite imagery, as well as Microsoft’s infrastructure and AI devices.

Having data related to water, fertilizer, and seed use accessible at the right time will help enable more sustainable agricultural practices and improve crop yield forecasts. Key stakeholders can derive insights from the data through intuitive visualizations, applications, and dashboards to make better-informed business and policy decisions.

To empower government agencies in Africa with geospatial tools in support of sustainable agriculture development, Esri recently launched the Geospatial Program for Agriculture in Africa. The company is participating in the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. At the Microsoft booth, which was made from recycled materials, Esri will demonstrate how GIS is fundamental to achieving sustainable agricultural development in Africa.

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