5 March 2021
ICT, Agriculture Ministers Witness Signing Agreement to Implement Applied Research Projects in Agriculture, Reclamation

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat and the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation El Sayed el Quseir have witnessed the signing of an agreement of cooperation between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and the Ministry of Agriculture and  Land Reclamation to carry out applied research projects to develop innovative solutions in agriculture and land reclamation capitalizing on state-of-the-art ICTs.

Pursuant to the agreement, projects will be carried out through technical cooperation between MCIT Applied Innovation Center (AIC) and the Ministry of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Center.

The projects activities will be carried out drawing on AIC resources, including laboratories, equipment and software, that will be made available to the projects teams when needed, according to the work plan; the teams expertise and data; and the resources of the Agricultural Research Center or any other entity, in this field.

The agreement was signed by the Deputy ICT Minister for Administrative Development, Digital Transformation and Automation Khaled El Attar, and the Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation for Digital Transformation and Automation of Services Ahmed Tobal.

The ICT Minister stated that the cooperation between the two ministries is part of MCIT role to support the Ministry of Agriculture in using the latest global technologies to meet the latter’s requirements and in line with its strategic vision for developing the agriculture sector.

The two ministries are collaborating in several projects, the most prominent of which is automating the agricultural tenure system and rolling out the farmer's card in 12 governorates, for more than one million farmers. This in addition to projects aimed at speeding up the digital transformation of the Ministry of Agriculture and developing work models capitalizing on modern technologies to ensure full readiness to move to the New Administrative Capital.

For his part, el Quseir underlined that the protocol aims to help the Ministry of Agriculture achieve the digital transformation and support relevant programs. These programs include automating services, implementing the farmer’s card system, achieving digital guidance and remote sensing, and using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in crop inventory and data provision, as well as developing the Ministry's electronic portal, archiving documents and training employees before moving to the New Administrative Capital.

The farmer's card project will be finalized nationwide during this month. During the meeting, the two sides agreed on several executive procedures for completing auditing agricultural tenures data and forming a joint committee to run the project once launched in the rest of the governorates to facilitate monitoring operation and maintenance.

Moreover, the two sides agreed on digitizing 130 services across the different sectors of the Ministry of Agriculture. The services are to be available on Digital Egypt platform in four phases, with the first to launch in July, including the 20 most in-demand tangible services.

The meeting highlighted the electronic document archiving project at the Ministry of Agriculture, as part of automating the work systems of the Ministry, in line with the government's plan to move to the New Administrative Capital. The archiving process is to be completed by the end of this month.

Furthermore, the meeting reviewed projects involving the use of AI in agriculture, most notably “Hodhod, the Egyptian farmer’s smart assistant" project. This is an Arabic mobile application that helps establish effective communication with farmers through providing digital guidance on topics of interest to farmers and smallholders, allowing easy access to agricultural advice and proper guidance.

The meeting delved into the technological solutions offered through developing an application for livestock smart management; an application for detecting, counting and examining palm trees; and an application for ensuring the optimal use of resources for growing more crops and lowering operation costs.

The two sides discussed the cooperation between AIC and the Agricultural Research Center in carrying out a project to use satellite images to define farmlands boundaries; map crop types in different areas; measure yield and harvest crops.

This will help compare the performance of farmlands in a year, on regular basis; locate leveled lands and estimate crop yield. It was agreed on implementing a pilot version of the project on six crops first, then on more crops after evaluating the pilot project results.

The meeting was attended by the Deputy ICT Minister for Administrative Development, Digital Transformation and Automation Khaled El Attar, the Assistant ICT Minister for Strategy and Implementation Sherine El-Guindy, the Advisor to the ICT Minister for AI Golestan Radwan, AIC Head Ahmed Tantawy, the Director of Research and Development (R&D) at AIC Noha Adly, the Department Manager at Soil, Water and Environment Research Institute (SWERI) Alaa El Bably, and the Assistant Minister of Agriculture Mohamed El Kersh.

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