By Temina Madon, Director of Business Development at Atlas AI
We at Atlas AI are excited to announce a new partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an organization that brings transformative growth to smallholder agriculture and agribusinesses across Africa.
AGRA operates across 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, making pivotal investments in improved seeds and fertilizer supply, inputs distribution, farmer organizations, and policy reforms. The Alliance also plays a key role in shaping African farmers’ response to climate change.
Atlas and AGRA have agreed to work together to fill key gaps in access to data on agricultural productivity, including satellite-based monitoring of crop yields, infrastructure, and markets. The collaboration was formalized with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed earlier this month at The Rockefeller Foundation in New York.
AGRA is headed by Dr. Agnes Kalibata, former Rwandan Minister of Agriculture and recipient of this year’s Public Welfare Medal, the highest honor awarded by the US National Academy of Science. For this, she will be recognized at a ceremony tomorrow in Washington, DC.
I first met Dr. Kalibata in 2014 in Kigali, when she spoke at a meeting co-sponsored by the World Bank and the Center for Effective Global Action. It was a “matchmaking” event designed to connect scientists with government leaders; our objective was to build data collection and learning into the roll-out of major new investments in Africa’s ag sector.
Dr. Kalibata’s remarks were visionary and inspiring — and at the same time she was grounded and incisive, challenging everyone in the room to make science work for African farmers. Needless to say, she is the rare combination of researcher, public leader, and pragmatic activist. She has built a remarkable team at AGRA, with talent drawn from across the continent and around the world. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate and learn together.
The new partnership will connect Atlas technology with AGRA’s deep understanding of the complex trade-offs facing African governments and agribusinesses. It creates a framework for integrating our collective data assets and insights, enabling us to co-create new products that serve AGRA’s clients.
We also aim to expand the geo-referencing of information captured in routine farm surveys. As Atlas AI’s co-founder David Lobell has argued, this is a critical step in integrating traditional survey methods with newer, more cost-effective satellite-based approaches.
The relationship between AGRA and Atlas will allow each side to innovate in new ways. We look forward to reporting our progress at the upcoming African Green Revolution Forum in Ghana this September, under the theme of “Grow Digital: Leveraging Digital Transformation to Drive Sustainable Food Systems in Africa.”