Middle East: What future for agriculture?

Middle East: What future for agriculture?

Governments can offer subsidies or low-interest loans to help offset the initial costs associated with implementing smart farming technologies such as precision agriculture systems or automated irrigation methods.


Middle East: What future for agriculture?


Middle Eastern countries face many challenges, starting with feeding their growing populations. Solutions exist, both in terms of quality and quantity. But in the context of global warming, it is urgent to act.

Welcome to the arid lands of the Middle East, where ancient civilizations have thrived for centuries against all odds. This region is not only rich in history and culture but also possesses a wealth of potential when it comes to agriculture. However, with increasing populations and dwindling resources, the future of agricultural production in the Middle East hangs in the balance. Yes, stakes are high these days. But countries in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region can harness agritech to overcome their unique agricultural challenges. From water scarcity to technological constraints, we will delve into innovative solutions that can pave the way towards sustainable farming practices. Join us as we uncover the possibilities for smart farming and discuss ways to combat climate change’s detrimental impact on food security.
How the Middle East countries can promote agritech

The Middle East countries have a tremendous opportunity to promote agritech and revolutionize their agricultural sector. One key aspect is the adoption of advanced technologies that can enhance productivity, conserve resources, and ensure food security in the face of mounting challenges.

An important step towards promoting agritech is investing in research and development. By allocating funds for scientific studies, governments can support innovation and encourage the creation of cutting-edge solutions tailored to the region’s specific needs. Collaboration between local universities, start-ups, and international experts can foster a culture of knowledge-sharing and accelerate technological advancements.

Furthermore, fostering partnerships between public institutions and private companies can play a crucial role in driving agritech forward. Encouraging joint ventures will not only attract foreign investment but also enable local businesses to tap into global expertise and access state-of-the-art technologies.

Another avenue for promoting agritech lies in providing financial incentives for farmers to adopt new practices. Governments can offer subsidies or low-interest loans to help offset the initial costs associated with implementing smart farming technologies such as precision agriculture systems or automated irrigation methods.

Moreover, establishing dedicated training programs is vital for ensuring successful integration of agritech solutions into farming practices across the region. Offering workshops, seminars, or online courses on agri-technology will equip farmers with the necessary skills to leverage these innovations effectively.

In conclusion (in this blog section), by prioritizing research and development efforts, fostering partnerships between public institutions and private enterprises while offering financial incentives along with comprehensive training programs; Middle East countries hold immense potential for promoting agritech at various levels – from small-scale farms up to large commercial operations. Embracing technology-driven approaches will undoubtedly pave the way towards sustainable agricultural production in this dynamic region.

Agricultural resources and technological constraints

When it comes to agriculture in the Middle East, there are both abundant resources and technological constraints that need to be considered. The region is blessed with fertile land and a favorable climate for growing a variety of crops. However, limited access to water resources poses a major challenge for agricultural production.

Countries like Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia have been heavily reliant on irrigation systems to sustain their agricultural activities. This has put immense pressure on already scarce water supplies. As global warming exacerbates drought conditions in the region, finding sustainable solutions becomes even more crucial.

To address these challenges, agritech innovations can play a significant role. Smart farming techniques that optimize water usage through precision irrigation systems can help conserve this precious resource while maximizing crop yields. Additionally, the use of advanced sensors and data analytics can provide valuable insights into soil health and nutrient management.

In recent years, several initiatives have emerged across the MENA region to promote agritech startups and research institutions focused on developing technologies tailored specifically for local conditions. These efforts aim not only to enhance agricultural productivity but also foster food security in an increasingly uncertain world.

By embracing sustainable farming practices and investing in technological advancements such as precision agriculture and hydroponics systems powered by renewable energy sources like solar power or wind turbines – countries in the Middle East can mitigate some of the challenges posed by limited resources while ensuring long-term food security for their populations.

It is clear that addressing the agricultural constraints requires collaboration between governments, private sector players,and research institutions.

The future of agriculture in the Middle East lies within innovative solutions that harness technology’s potential while respecting environmental limitations

Fighting the impact of global warming

Global warming is a pressing issue that affects agriculture in the Middle East. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and increased frequency of extreme weather events pose significant challenges to agricultural production in the region.

One way to combat the impact of global warming on agriculture is through sustainable farming practices. By adopting techniques such as conservation tillage, crop rotation, and organic farming methods, farmers can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change effects. Additionally, using precision agriculture technologies like remote sensing and GPS can optimize resource use and minimize environmental impact.

Water scarcity is another major concern for agricultural production in the Middle East. With limited freshwater resources, efficient irrigation systems are crucial. Drip irrigation techniques have proven effective in conserving water while maintaining crop yields. Investing in advanced water management systems and promoting responsible water usage can help alleviate the strain on water resources.

Furthermore, diversifying crops can enhance food security by reducing reliance on a single crop or limited range of cereals. Encouraging farmers to grow a variety of crops adapted to changing climatic conditions ensures resilience against potential losses due to climate-related impacts.

Collaboration between governments, research institutions, and private sector companies is vital for developing innovative agritech solutions tailored to local contexts. Supporting initiatives that promote smart farming technologies like vertical farming or hydroponics can increase agricultural productivity while minimizing land use.

It is now essential for countries in the Middle East to prioritize sustainable farming practices and invest in agritech advancements to combat the impact of global warming on agriculture effectively. By adapting strategies suited for their specific constraints – whether it be scarce water resources or increasing temperatures – these nations can ensure food security for their populations while preserving their natural environment.



AI Edge Computing and its Impact on Urban Infrastructure

The above featured-image is for illustration and is credit to aaeon

Fagen Wasanni Technologies published this article on AI Edge Computing in urban development that’s worth reading.

Exploring the Future of Smart Cities: The Role and Impact of AI Edge Computing on Urban Infrastructure

As we stand on the precipice of a new era in urban development, the future of smart cities is being shaped by the rapid advancements in technology. One of the most transformative technologies is Artificial Intelligence (AI) Edge Computing, which is poised to have a profound impact on urban infrastructure.

AI Edge Computing is a paradigm that brings computation and data storage closer to the location where it’s needed, to improve response times and save bandwidth. This technology is a game-changer for smart cities, as it allows for real-time data processing, enabling cities to become more efficient, sustainable, and livable.

The integration of AI Edge Computing into urban infrastructure is already underway, with cities around the world beginning to harness its potential. For instance, in the realm of traffic management, AI Edge Computing can analyze data from traffic cameras in real-time to optimize traffic light sequences, reducing congestion and improving road safety. This technology can also predict traffic patterns, allowing city planners to make informed decisions about infrastructure development.

In the context of public safety, AI Edge Computing can be used to enhance surveillance systems. By processing data on the edge, these systems can identify potential threats or criminal activity in real-time, enabling quicker response times from law enforcement agencies. Moreover, AI algorithms can learn and adapt over time, improving their accuracy and effectiveness.

The impact of AI Edge Computing extends to environmental sustainability as well. Smart sensors placed throughout a city can monitor air quality, noise levels, and waste management in real-time. This data can then be processed on the edge, providing city officials with actionable insights to address environmental issues promptly and efficiently.

Furthermore, AI Edge Computing can revolutionize the way cities manage their energy consumption. Smart grids powered by this technology can monitor and analyze energy usage in real-time, optimizing the distribution of energy and reducing waste. This not only leads to significant cost savings but also contributes to a city’s sustainability goals.

However, the implementation of AI Edge Computing in urban infrastructure is not without its challenges. Data privacy and security are major concerns, as the technology involves the collection and processing of vast amounts of data. Cities must ensure robust data protection measures are in place to safeguard citizens’ privacy. Additionally, the deployment of AI Edge Computing requires substantial investment in infrastructure and skills training, which may be a hurdle for cities with limited resources.

Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of AI Edge Computing for smart cities are immense. As cities continue to grow and evolve, this technology will play a pivotal role in shaping urban infrastructure, making cities smarter, safer, and more sustainable.

In conclusion, the future of smart cities is intrinsically linked with the advancement of AI Edge Computing. This technology is set to redefine urban infrastructure, transforming the way cities function and improving the quality of life for their residents. As we move forward into this exciting new era of urban development, the possibilities for what our cities could become are truly limitless.



Read the Fagen Wasanni Technologies

Today calls for appropriate use of technology in education


Today’s calls for the appropriate use of technology in education are getting increasingly louder, for it is paramount to prepare for a more hopefully sustainable future.

The above-featured image is for illustration and is credit to UNESCO.

2023 GEM Report out today calls for appropriate use of technology in education

The sixth in the GEM Report series, Technology in education: A tool on whose terms?, urges countries to set their own terms for the way technology is designed and used in education so that it never replaces in-person, teacher-led instruction, and supports the shared objective of quality education for all.

The report is being launched today at an event in Montevideo, Uruguay, hosted by the GEM Report, the Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay and Ceibal Foundation with 18 ministers of education from around the world. It proposes a four-point compass that policy makers and educational stakeholders can use when deciding how to deploy technology in education:

1. Is it appropriate?

Using technology can improve some types of learning in some contexts. The report cites evidence showing that learning benefits disappear if technology is used in excess or in the absence of a qualified teacher. For example, distributing computers to students does not improve learning on its own without the engagement of trained teachers. Smartphones in schools have  proven to be a distraction to learning, yet fewer than a quarter of countries ban their use in schools.

Learning inequities between students widen when instruction is exclusively remote and when online content is not context appropriate. A study of open educational resource collections found that nearly 90% of higher education online repositories were created either in Europe or in North America; 92% of the material in the OER Commons global library is in English.

2. Is it equitable?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the rapid shift to online learning left out at least half a billion students worldwide, mostly affecting the poorest and those in rural areas. The report underlines that the right to education is increasingly synonymous with the right to meaningful connectivity, yet one in four primary schools do not even have electricity. It calls for all countries to set benchmarks for connecting schools to the internet between now and 2030 and for the focus to remain on the most marginalized.

Internet connectivity is highly unequal


Percentage of 3- to 17-year-olds with internet connection at home, by wealth quintile, selected countries, 2017–19
Source: UNICEF database.

3. Is it scalable?

Sound, rigorous and impartial evidence of technology’s added value in learning is needed more than ever, but is lacking. Most evidence comes from the United States, where the What Works Clearinghouse pointed out that less than 2% of education interventions assessed had ‘strong or moderate evidence of effectiveness’. When the evidence only comes from the technology companies themselves, there is a risk it may be biased.

Many countries ignore the long-term costs of technology purchases and the EdTech market is expanding while basic education needs remain unmet. The cost of moving to basic digital learning in low-income countries and of connecting all schools to the internet in lower-middle-income countries would add 50% to their current financing gap for achieving national SDG 4 targets. A full digital transformation of education with internet connectivity in schools and homes would cost over a billion per day just to operate.

4. Is it sustainable?

The fast pace of change in technology is putting strain on education systems to adapt. Digital literacy and critical thinking are increasingly important, particularly with the growth of generative AI. This adaptation movement has begun: 54% of countries have defined the skills they want to develop for the future. But only 11 out of 51 governments surveyed have curricula for AI.

In addition to these skills, basic literacy should not be overlooked, as it is critical for digital application too: students with better reading skills are far less likely to be duped by phishing emails.  Moreover, teachers also need appropriate training yet only half of countries currently have standards for developing their ICT skills. Few teacher training programmes cover cybersecurity even though 5% of ransomware attacks target education.

Sustainability also requires better guaranteeing the rights of technology users. Today, only 16% of countries guarantee data privacy in education by law. One analysis found that 89% of 163 education technology products could survey children. Further, 39 of 42 governments providing online education during the pandemic fostered uses that ‘risked or infringed’ on children’s rights.

It also requires ensuring that the long-term costs for our planet are taken into account. One estimate of the CO2 emissions that could be saved by extending the lifespan of all laptops in the European Union by a year found it would be equivalent to taking almost 1 million cars off the road.

The report calls for us to learn about our past mistakes when using technology in education so that we do not repeat them in the future. The #TechOnOurTerms campaign calls for decisions about technology in education to prioritize learner needs after assessing whether its application would be appropriate, equitable, evidence-based and sustainable. We need to teach children to live both with and without technology; to take what they need from the abundance of information, but to ignore what is not necessary; to let technology support, but never supplant human interactions in teaching and learning.

Read the report

Greenhouse gas emissions tracking project


High Tech Innovations Are Key To A Greener Economy


In a Forbes Business Development Council article, it is held that High Tech Innovations Are Key To A Greener Economy.  Syed Alam 5 Ways To Ensure A More Sustainable Future.  

Environmentally Responsible and Resource-efficient in the MENA region, was and still is concerned for anything green that were second to that fundamentally frantic development of buildings and all related infrastructure to nevertheless greater and greater awareness of their various environmental impact. 

The image above is Getty



High Tech Innovations Are Key To A Greener Economy: 5 Ways To Ensure A More Sustainable Future


Syed is Accenture’s High Tech global lead, helping clients reinvent their business, optimize supply chain and create new revenue models.

The high-tech industry is central to moving the sustainability agenda forward and enabling a greener planet through the design of more sustainable products using the rise of smart sensors as a way to better manage energy consumption.

At my company Accenture, we have already seen great progress in a wide variety of products, from smart thermostats and solar-powered smart watches to electric vehicles and more power-efficient CPUs in data centers. These products are not only more sustainable and good for the environment, but they are also good for business and future growth.

A recent study from United Nations Global Compact and Accenture shows strategies and business models with sustainability at their core are not only a climate imperative but also the foundation for better security, growth and resilience. This is supported by another recent study’s indication that the supply chain is key to fighting climate change, as supply chains generate up to 60% of global emissions.

While many companies have mastered Scope 1 emissions, most companies lack visibility into the upstream supplier base, called “Scope 3” emissions. For high-tech companies, 86% of upstream Scope 3 emissions sit outside their Tier 1 suppliers.

High-tech companies are deploying strategies to help the industry meet environmental sustainability goals. The Semiconductor Climate Consortium is one excellent example of semiconductor companies coming together to collaborate and align on common approaches and technology innovations to continuously reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In this article, I will outline five strategies high-tech leaders can adopt to ensure a more sustainable future both within their own organizations and across the supply chain.

1. Recycling Products

E-waste, driven in part by consumers upgrading to the latest smartphones and data centers swapping out servers to keep up with the demands of AI, is both damaging to the planet and costing high-tech companies money. According to the United Nations, global e-waste volumes grew 17% between 2014 and 2019, with over 53 million tons of e-waste in 2019.

High-tech companies are in a unique position to help reduce e-waste by designing products for reuse, resale, repair, refurbishment and remanufacturing, which Accenture and the United Nations study shows can boost operating profit by 16%.

Many technology giants already have successful recycling programs in place that encourage partner participation. In 2022, Accenture partner Cisco launched the Environmental Sustainability Specialization (ESS), a program to educate customers, promote product takeback and assist in the move to circular business models.

As many companies have proven, this can constitute a great opportunity to save money and create new revenue streams while reducing carbon footprints by avoiding single-use inputs and designing for refurbishment and longevity.

2. Selecting Cleaner Raw Materials

As the demand for more sustainable materials rises, more companies are starting to use cleaner minerals such as copper, lithium, nickel and cobalt. Fortunately, materials suppliers have stepped up efforts to deliver eco-friendly solutions to enable companies to make this transition.

Accenture partner Solvay, a supplier of alternative materials, has been developing new solutions to reduce waste materials generated by semiconductor manufacturing. Its products are helping customers recycle polyvinylidene fluoride, a byproduct of chipmaking.

3. Adopting Greener Manufacturing Processes

Many manufacturing companies are making strides in reducing electricity consumption, recycling water and adopting greener manufacturing practices.

Accenture partner Lam Research invested in LED lighting processes and improvements to HVAC equipment such as air compressors. Likewise, companies such as Winbond are using a new low-temperature soldering (LTS) process to reduce the temperatures needed for the assembly of components. These lower temperatures can lead to faster manufacturing throughput while also lowering temperatures to reduce carbon emissions.

Leaders continue to adopt solutions capable of streamlining production processes, using digital tools and deploying more efficient supply chains to save energy and optimize logistics to reduce truck rolls, which can help lower carbon footprints.

Accenture partner Hitachi’s Lumada Manufacturing Insights is a perfect example, as it is helping manufacturers develop data-driven operations, increase supply chain visibility and enable smart factory solutions to improve productivity and lower asset downtime.

4. Designing More Power-Efficient Products

At this year’s CES, we saw many energy-efficient products come to life as companies introduced products focused on managing home energy usage, including battery packs, solar panels and EV chargers. Accenture partner Schneider Electric released the “Home” energy platform to monitor energy usage, manage backup power during an outage and connect to utility programs for savings on electricity bills.

The industry migration to the cloud has also helped significantly reduce global power consumption. Because the cloud supports many products at a time, it can more efficiently distribute resources among users. Companies like Accenture partner Google have made inroads in making their cloud services power efficient, with claims new data centers are twice as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data center—delivering five times as much computing power for the same amount of electrical power as five years ago.

5. Embedding Sustainability Into Supplier Selection And Management

As companies source new suppliers and optimize existing ones, they should embed sustainability in every step of the supply chain management process. This includes analyzing the supplier base to determine the biggest source of emissions and having data-driven conversations with suppliers to reduce emissions.

Digital tools such as digital twins can be used to map physical material flows to uncover sub-tier suppliers and risks. By proactively working with suppliers on an ongoing basis, high-tech companies can identify bottlenecks within the supply chain and help mitigate disruptive events while improving their own decarbonization performance.

Social Innovations Without Waste

While the industry has made great strides toward global sustainability, there is still much work to be done. With the value of global sustainability assets rising above $220 billion, it is increasingly evident that investing in sustainability is not just morally responsible but financially savvy.

Organizations must reduce massive surges in energy consumption, water usage and CO2 emissions and develop sustainable products and services to help customers in their own sustainability transformations. The transition to sustainability presents a tremendous revenue-generating opportunity for companies that act quickly to develop—and adopt—greener technologies.


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