Championing the future of agritech

pexels david j boozer 1125121The inaugural Duo Duo Smart Agriculture Competition has kicked off its final round of events in a tournament to pioneer the agricultural production landscape using agricultural technology

The competition is jointly organised by the China Agricultural University and Pinduoduo (PDD) and backed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

The ongoing competition, held in Yunnan Province, China, has brought together four teams of top strawberry growers — the “Traditional Teams” — and four teams of scientific AI experts — the” Science and Technology Teams”—to compete for their best solutions and deliver winning breakthroughs that will advance how the popular fruit is grown.

The competition will also serve as a launching pad for promising innovations that will help to create solutions to the economic uncertainties currently facing the agricultural industry.

“30 years from now, farming labour will become increasingly scarce, which makes unmanned farms and related technological breakthrough all the more important,” highlighted Li Daoliang, a professor at China Agricultural University.

These global agricultural experts will employ their knowledge and expertise to provide valuable suggestions and insights to the Duo Duo Agricultural Research Lab, using either advanced AI technologies or traditional practises. Touted as PDD’s AI-driven, smart agriculture centre, the lab seeks to pioneer the best applications and help rural Chinese farmers improve their productivity and find new sales channels online.

The Science and Technology Teams are expected to grow the strawberries in full-digital greenhouses at a distance during competition. They will seek to respond to the challenges of growing these fruits using AI solutions only, combining growth data and greenhouse conditions taken from IoT devices, to produce high quality and efficient production.

In the meantime, the Traditional Category teams are expected to derive best practices based on their collective planting and farming experience. These traditional experts are also in the process of developing new techniques to challenge the AI systems developed by the opposing teams.

The winning team, to be judged and announced on 12 November, will be determined by the economic value of their contributions, and the level of reliability, scalability and technical merit of their proposed agritech solutions.

The participants will be awarded research funding, implementation support at PDD’s Yunnan’s Duo Duo farm, and additional academic and commercial support from PDD.

Billed as the first-of-its-kind cross-disciplinary smart agritech competition between a technology company and university in China, the event is just one of many initiatives that PDD has been working actively to advance China’s agriculture development and improve rural farmers’ livelihoods in the country.

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