ICLR 2020 Workshop on Computer Vision for Agriculture
April 26th 2020

Artificial intelligence has invaded the agriculture field during the last few years. From automatic crop monitoring via drones, smart agricultural equipment, food security and camera-powered apps assisting farmers to satellite imagery based global crop disease prediction and tracking, computer vision has been a ubiquitous tool. This workshop aims to expose the fascinating progress and unsolved problems of computational agriculture to the AI research community. It is jointly organized by AI and computational agriculture researchers and has the support of CGIAR, a global partnership that unites international organizations engaged in agricultural research for a food-secure future.

Virtual Workshop

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ICLR 2020 will be hosted as a fully virtual conference. Our workshop will also be virtual, and we have a full day of events on Sunday the 26th of April, as well as networking events and socials throughout the week on our "Virtual Booth".

Note that you will need to be registered for the ICLR conference to participate in the online workshop.

Everyone, however can watch it live here, on our website.

Watch Live

If the embedded video doesn't show above, please try clearing the cache for this website.

You can also watch the CV4A workshop livestream from the slidelive website, at this page.

Virtual Booth Events

We are excited to announce that the following events will take place on our workshop's "Virtual Booth" during the week of the conference:

Workshop Program

Below you can find the program in the following forms:

Program at a glance

Tip: Click on any session to see more details!

Session times across different timezones
UTC-7 hoursUTC-4 hoursUTC / GMTUTC+2 hoursUTC+3 hoursUTC+5 hoursUTC+9 hoursSession
San FranciscoNew YorkDakarBarcelonaAddis AbabaIslamabadTokyo
Sun 00:30Sun 03:30Sun 07:30Sun 09:30Sun 10:30Sun 12:30Sun 16:30Opening remarks
Sun 00:50Sun 03:50Sun 07:50Sun 09:50Sun 10:50Sun 12:50Sun 16:50One Acre Fund: Helping Smallholder Farmers
- Emiel Veersma (One Acre Fund)
Sun 01:30Sun 04:30Sun 08:30Sun 10:30Sun 11:30Sun 13:30Sun 17:30Digital Farm Twinning in Africa
- Mohamed Akram Zaytar (FST)
Sun 02:10Sun 05:10Sun 09:10Sun 11:10Sun 12:10Sun 14:10Sun 18:10Mapping Geographical Diversity of Crop Disease Surveillance in a Crowdsourced Environment
- Joyce Nakatumba (Makerere University)
Sun 02:50Sun 05:50Sun 09:50Sun 11:50Sun 12:50Sun 14:50Sun 18:50BREAK (10 min)
Sun 03:00Sun 06:00Sun 10:00Sun 12:00Sun 13:00Sun 15:00Sun 19:00Advancing the delivery of smart digital tools to smallholder farmers in Africa - Ready or Not?
- Julius Adewopo (IITA)
Sun 03:40Sun 06:40Sun 10:40Sun 12:40Sun 13:40Sun 15:40Sun 19:40Paper session I: Spotlights
- 8 presentations (Europe/Africa/Asia-based presenters)
Sun 04:30Sun 07:30Sun 11:30Sun 13:30Sun 14:30Sun 16:30Sun 20:30BREAK (30 min)
Sun 05:00Sun 08:00Sun 12:00Sun 14:00Sun 15:00Sun 17:00Sun 21:00Paper session II: Oral Presentations
- 3 presentations (Europe/Africa/Asia-based presenters)
Sun 05:45Sun 08:45Sun 12:45Sun 14:45Sun 15:45Sun 17:45Sun 21:45An Innovator in International Food Security
- Catherine Nakalembe (University of Maryland)
Sun 06:25Sun 09:25Sun 13:25Sun 15:25Sun 16:25Sun 18:25Sun 22:25BREAK (5 min)
Sun 06:30Sun 09:30Sun 13:30Sun 15:30Sun 16:30Sun 18:30Sun 22:30Wheat Rust Early Warning Systems in Ethiopia – Using New Technologies to Combat Crop Disease
- Dave Hodson (CIMMYT)
Sun 07:10Sun 10:10Sun 14:10Sun 16:10Sun 17:10Sun 19:10Sun 23:10Technology Through the eyes of a farmer
- Noah Nasiali Kadima (African Farmers)
Sun 07:50Sun 10:50Sun 14:50Sun 16:50Sun 17:50Sun 19:50Sun 23:50BREAK (10 min)
Sun 08:00Sun 11:00Sun 15:00Sun 17:00Sun 18:00Sun 20:00Mon 00:00Panel on Food Security
- Jingying Yang, Denis Fidalis Mujibi, Sarah Papazoglakis, Amanda Ramcharan, Hannah Kerner, Christopher Abiodun (Farmcrowdy)
Sun 09:00Sun 12:00Sun 16:00Sun 18:00Sun 19:00Sun 21:00Mon 01:00CV4A Challenges session
- Hamed Alemohammad (Radiant Earth Foundation), David Guerena (CIAT), Celina Lee (Zindi.africa)
Sun 10:00Sun 13:00Sun 17:00Sun 19:00Sun 20:00Sun 22:00Mon 02:00BREAK (15 min)
Sun 10:15Sun 13:15Sun 17:15Sun 19:15Sun 20:15Sun 22:15Mon 02:15Towards 2050: Big data driven decision support in integrated smallholder farming systems
- Denis Fidalis Mujibi (USOMI)
Sun 10:55Sun 13:55Sun 17:55Sun 19:55Sun 20:55Sun 22:55Mon 02:55The PlantVillage Project
- Annalyse Kehs (PSU)
Sun 11:35Sun 14:35Sun 18:35Sun 20:35Sun 21:35Sun 23:35Mon 03:35Paper session III
- 1 oral and 2 spotlight presentations (America-based presenters)
Sun 12:00Sun 15:00Sun 19:00Sun 21:00Sun 22:00Sun 00:00Mon 04:00Closing remarks

Workshop Session Details

Opening remarks from the organizers

Speaker: Yannis Kalantidis on behalf of the organizers.

Back to the program at a glance.

Invited Talk:
One Acre Fund: Helping Smallholder Farmers

Speaker: Emiel Veersma (One Acre Fund)
Short bio: Working as Data Scientist at One Acre Fund, I'm responsible for supporting the organization with analyzing the vast amounts of data. This involves supporting farmers with planting and fertilizer advice, analyzing client payment data and setting up experiments to optimize the pricing strategy.
Slides: Link to slides.
Talk Abstract: One Acre Fund is a nonprofit organization that supplies smallholder farmers in East Africa with asset-based financing and agriculture training services to reduce hunger and poverty. Using a market-based approach, One Acre Fund facilitates activities and transactions at various levels of the farming value chain, including seed sourcing and market support. During the talk, I'll talk about Data Science projects we've been working on at One Acre Fund, and what our next steps will be.


Back to the program at a glance.

Invited Talk:
Digital Farm Twinning in Africa

Speaker: Mohamed Akram Zaytar (Faculté des Sciences et Techniques de Tanger, Morocco)
Short bio: Mohamed Akram Zaytar is a Ph.D. candidate at the Faculty of Sciences and Technologies Tangier, doing work at the intersection of machine learning and environmental science. His research focuses on weather forecasting, air quality monitoring, and precision agriculture with remote sensing data.
Slides: Link to slides.
Talk Abstract: African smallholder farmers face considerable difficulties in coping up with the unpredictable nature of farming conditions (e.g., environment, weather & soil). For them, making uninformed decisions often decreases the productivity of their farms and hence their livelihoods. In this presentation, we go over our past, current, and future research efforts that aim at aiding smallholder farmers in Africa. Using a range of data types contextualized to form digital twins of farms, we present a method for recommending cultivation time-windows for plowing and a scalable approach for weakly-supervised small-scale boundary estimation.


Back to the program at a glance.

Invited Talk:
Mapping Geographical Diversity of Crop Disease Surveillance in a Crowdsourced Environment

Speaker: Joyce Nakatumba (Makerere University, Uganda)
Short bio: Joyce Nakatumba-Nabende is a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the School of Computing and Informatics Technology, Makerere University. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands. Joyce is the head of the Makerere Artificial Intelligence research lab where she carries out research in the application of machine learning techniques in areas of agriculture and health. 

Talk Abstract: This talk will discuss work around a scaled community sensing model when open sourced technology has been deployed to acquire crop image data in a crowdsourced environment. We perform a spatial assessment on the diversity of image data collected to understand the state of crop health for different geographical regions. The talk will delve into challenges in this crowdsourced model and potential data sources, enhancements that can argument crowdsourced image data to provide a holistic pest and crop disease surveillance model in Uganda.

Slides: Link to slides.


Back to the program at a glance.

Invited Talk:
Advancing the delivery of smart digital tools to smallholder farmers in Africa - Ready or Not?

Speaker: Julius Adewopo (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Rwanda)
Short bio: Julius Adewopo is geodata scientist within multidisciplinary background in soil science and digital agronomy. In the past 5 years, he has led several projects and initiatives, mainly focused on delivery of digital tools and analytics for decision-support in smallholder agricultural systems, including smart ICT surveillance system for banana disease in East Africa, [near-]real-time crowdsourcing of food prices in Nigeria, and bridging of ground-based weather data gap in Africa. Last year, he was honored by the Agropolis Foundation as the recipient of the Louis Malassis laureate award for young promising scientist, and he continues to advance collaboration on various themes to address most-pressing challenges for agricultural production in Africa. 

Talk Abstract: Digital technologies are increasingly accessible in Africa and the agricultural development sector embraces their potential. Projects adopting digital tools in their interventions often promise unprecedented outcomes and impact. Yet, the understanding farmers’ readiness to adopt digital innovations is limited and national statistics of access to smart technologies often tell a skewed story. For instance, recently, a robust survey of 700 farmers in Rwanda shows that only 3% possess or use smartphones, yet, many interventions assume that these farmers will uptake tools that are deployed on smartphone-based platforms. Further, farmers (as tool users) are often neglected in smart tool development and their capacity to use the tool is seldom considered. This presentation will highlight some of the nuances of co-developing smart digital tools based on multi-project experiences in sub-Saharan Africa, and raise important questions (and insights) for envisioned sustainability of digital agriculture within smallholder farming systems.

Slides: Link to slides.


Back to the program at a glance.

Paper session I:
Spotlights (Europe/Africa/Asia-based presenters)

The following papers are going to be presented during this session, in the order listed below.

Back to the program at a glance.

Paper session II:
Oral Presentations (Europe/Africa/Asia-based presenters)

The following papers are going to be presented during this session, in the order listed below:

  • Bayesian aggregation improves traditional single image crop classification approaches [pdf]


  • Back to the program at a glance.

    Invited Talk:
    Integrating Earth Observations in National Agriculture

    Speaker: Catherine Lilian Nakalembe (University of Maryland, College Park)
    Short bio: Dr. Nakalembe is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Maryland. She is the NASA Harvest Africa Program Lead, a member of the NASA SERVIR Applied Sciences Team and serves as the Agriculture and Food Security Thematic Lead. She has broad interest ranging from agriculture remote sensing, food security to climate change and supports several capacity bundling actives in the context of the GEO Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative. 

    Talk Abstract: For many African countries, food security is one of, if not the most, pressing issues of today. My job as Africa Program Lead for NASA Harvest is to help countries build their own agricultural monitoring systems based on free and low-cost satellite data to inform life-saving decisions related to food security sooner and with a deeper evidence-base. Our work at NASA Harvest focuses on using satellite data to understand agriculture and food security at local to global scales. Satellite data have been used in agriculture for decades by organizations like USDA, but not in many other countries especially in Africa. NASA’s Applied sciences programs Harvest and SERVIR are redoubling NASA’s investment in making satellite data more useful for agriculture monitoring. Combined with field data, satellite data help us understand sooner, and at a larger scale, what food crops are growing where, how they are doing, estimate how much food will be produced in a season, and provide early warnings of crop failure. This early warning gives organizations more lead time to prepare responses and even mitigate impacts altogether.


    Back to the program at a glance.

    Invited Talk:
    Wheat Rust Early Warning Systems in Ethiopia – Using New Technologies to Combat Crop Disease

    Speaker: David Hodson (CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center)
    Short bio: David Hodson is a Principal Scientist with CIMMYT bases in Mexico. He has over 20 years of experience executing and managing GIS-related projects and programs for agricultural research and development in developing countries. For the last 10 years he has worked on developing and coordinating a Global Wheat Rust Monitoring System in response to the threat posed by wheat stem rust Ug99. The wheat rust monitoring system now covers approximately 40 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In addition, Hodson is involved in projects using advanced modeling for wheat rust early warning, and also on improved pathogen and host diagnostics using molecular tools. His research focuses on the surveillance and monitoring of emerging cereal disease threats and the application of geo-spatial technology for improved decision support. 

    Talk Abstract: Wheat rusts pose a major threat to food security in Ethiopia, with several devastating epidemics in recent history. To help prevent major disease outbreaks, early detection and timely control are essential. In response to the wheat rust problem in Ethiopia a consortium of national and international partners have created one of the most advanced, operational crop disease early warning and advisory systems in the world. This early warning system includes several advanced technologies and operates in near real-time within the wheat season. Key elements include; near real-time field and mobile phone surveillance data, mobile nanopore sequencing diagnostics, meteorologically-driven spore dispersal, disease environmental suitability forecasting and a platform for timely communication to policy-makers, extension agents and small-holder farmers. The existing early warning system and the planned development of additional, new components for enhancement based on machine learning and remote sensing will be described.


    Back to the program at a glance.

    Invited Talk:
    Technology Through the eyes of a farmer

    Speaker: Noah Nasiali Kadima (AFarmers & Africa Farmers, Kenya)
    Short bio: Multi-Award Winning Farmer, Community Entrepreneur, & Agripreneur 

    Talk Abstract: Technology has been developed to solve the worlds problems. Most of the technology developed works well in the sectors that it has been designed. In the farming/agriculture sector this has also been done with great results but why are farmers not using the technology that has been developed? At what point should we engage with the farmers and develop solutions with them and not for them?

    Back to the program at a glance.

    Live Panel Session: Panel on Food Security

    Moderator: Jingying Yang (Partnership on AI)


    Workshop Organizers

    Challenge & Panel Organizers

    Sponsor & Finance Chairs

    • Louisa Nakanuku-Diggs (Radiant Earth Foundation)
    • Hamed Alemohammad (Radiant Earth Foundation)
    • The Radiant Earth Foundation has graciously volunteered to be our fiscal sponsor

    Collaborators and partners

    Advisory Committee

    • Timnit Gebru (Google AI)
    • John Quinn (Makerere University & Google AI Ghana)
    • Larry Zitnick (University of Washington & Facebook AI)
    • Jitendra Malik (UC Berkeley & Facebook AI)






    Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team