Pioneering intelligence platform for small-scale farmers

Hi Saai, a new intelligence platform – the first of its kind in the world – will act like a super consultant that answers any farming-related questions in a flash.

Saai, an agricultural organisation in Pretoria, is launching the world’s first artificial intelligence platform for farmers and it will soon be made available free of charge to all small-scale farmers. The platform, Hi Saai, is WhatsApp-based and uses billions of data points on the internet to develop a complex framework that can offer comprehensive answers to farming-related questions within minutes.

“We are also introducing it to similar farming organisations on six continents to ensure that farmers retain ownership of their data and to improve their competitiveness on the market floors of an ever-smaller world,” says Francois Rossouw, CEO of Saai.

“Through our active involvement in the World Farmerss Organization and the UN’s Decade of Family Farming, we want to make sure that organisations like Saai, which advocate for the interests of small-scale farmers, are the first to fill this gap and take ownership of the technology,” says Rossouw.

Hi Saai focuses on delivering extensive services and puts the best expertise and information available within every farmer’s reach. Agricultural technical advisory services are provided from the intelligence platform and cover every dimension of farming, such as agri-business and production planning, financial advice, mechanisation, chemical applications, marketing and programming. The platform will be available to the most remote, smallest and poorest farmers – they only need an internet connection.

The platform is still in its development phase and is learning from its own experience and research to improve itself. In the first rounds of the test phase of Hi Saai, many challenges were discovered, which were addressed. The Saai technology team expects more such unforeseen hiccups on the platform and will fix them as soon as they come up. In the meantime, a larger group of farmers is involved so that potential obstacles can be ironed out as soon as possible.

Dr Theo de Jager, chairman of the board of Saai, thinks there is only one way in which the world’s small and medium-sized farmers will survive in an environment where corporate groups and multinational companies are gradually taking over primary production – through the best digital technology.

“The farm of the future will be managed with Big Data, robots, drones and satellites, the Internet of Things, blockchain technology, and especially artificial intelligence. As a network for family farmers, it is Saai’s mission to get this technology within reach of every farming family,” adds De Jager.

Saai is already in discussion with agricultural unions around the world to make the platform available as widely as possible.

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