Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
6 December 2021
ICT, Agriculture Ministers Announce Soft Launch of Digital Transformation Services in Agriculture Sector

During a press conference held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat and the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation El-Said El-Qosair have announced the soft launch of digital transformation services and the development of the electronic agricultural service system.

The conference was attended by senior officials from the two ministries. It reviewed the achievements made in collaboration between the two ministries to reinforce digital transformation in the agriculture sector.

During the conference, the soft launch of Hudhud, the farmer’s smart assistant, was announced. Hudhud is an Arabic mobile application that capitalizes on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create more effective communication with farmers through providing digital guidance on topics of interest to farmers and smallholders, facilitating their access to advice and proper guidance.

The ICT Minister underlined that the project brings about a paradigm shift in the agricultural guidance system, helping it become instantaneous and accurate to meet each farmer’s needs, crop, and the pests that may infect his crops. The name Hudhud (hoopoe) was chosen because the hoopoe is known to be the farmer’s friend.

If a pest infestation is spotted during any of the stages of the agricultural cycle, the farmer uses his phone to take a picture of the infested crop. He then uploads the picture to the system, which will use AI to identify the type of pest and communicate with the farmer, providing instructions for pest treatment and management.

Talaat stated that for now, guidance is being provided on certain crops, as there will be a soft launch of instructions. The system will soon be enriched with more data and images to ensure reliability and accuracy, he added. Talaat said that the launch of applications is a stepping stone to developing the different parts of the agriculture system and shifting to smart modern agriculture, which represents a key pillar in building Digital Egypt.

The ICT Minister reviewed several smart agriculture projects implemented in cooperation between the two ministries, including measuring agricultural lands, using satellite images to determine the list of crops planted in each agricultural season and governorate, and an AI-powered system that supports the planning process for covering the country's needs of seeds, fertilizers, agricultural supplies, and water resources, and filling the productivity gap.

Talaat also referred to the Farmer’s Card project, which aims to empower farmers with digital inclusion, govern the fertilizer and agricultural supplies system and ensure that they reach those who deserve them the most.

Within the framework of the government’s relocation to the New Administrative Capital, as a participatory, paperless government, there is an ongoing project for archiving the Ministry of Agriculture’s documents. In addition, the specialized applications that assist employees at the Ministry of Agriculture in performing their work digitally, have been added to the cloud, which will be transferred to equipped data centers and will be ready before the Ministry moves to the New Administrative Capital.

For his part, the Minister of Agriculture said that there has been productive and effective cooperation between the two ministries to support digital transformation in the agriculture sector, which is one of the promising sectors that the political leadership attaches great importance to. He added that such cooperation has resulted in carrying out four projects, the pilot versions of which will be launched soon to help achieve digital transformation.

As part of its efforts in achieving digital transformation and service automation, the Ministry of Agriculture launched the Smart Farmer’s Card system and automated agricultural quarantine services, El-Qosair said. He added that the Card was developed and the payment feature was added. In addition, more than 3.5 million cards were printed and two million were handed out to farmers. The distribution of cards is being completed to ensure reaching all farmers, he said.

El-Qosair highlighted that the agricultural e-portal was developed to maintain effective communication with the persons involved in the agriculture sector and render electronic services within Digital Egypt vision. Twenty services were included for trial operation in preparation for the inclusion of the other services provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, to facilitate people’s access to services.

The Minister of Agriculture stressed that Hudhud application will support the electronic guidance system, helping farmers through providing technical support and modern and best agricultural practices, through seeding to harvesting, identifying plant diseases and pests and providing treatment.

Furthermore, El-Qosair highlighted that he two ministries cooperated in employing AI in measuring cultivated areas to identify needs. An inventory of summer crops has also been completed and preparations are underway for completing an inventory of winter crops.

The two ministries, in addition, have collaborated in archiving the Ministry of Agriculture’s documents, in preparation for moving to the New Administrative Capital.

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