Empowering women in aquaculture: AI4WA works with Toke's Farm

In the traditionally male-dominated aquaculture industry, one extraordinary woman farmer, Hajia Ramat Omosanya, founder of Toke's Farm, serves as a beacon of inspiration. Her remarkable journey not only demonstrates the power of determination and dedication, but also highlights the transformative potential of women's inclusion.

Hajia Ramat Omosanya, like many of us, found herself struggling with the boredom and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She needed an escape and found a way to channel her energy and creativity into something meaningful. She ventured into the world of agriculture, a decision that changed her life forever, thanks to her heart and her good friend.

His journey began with just two modest ponds, a small step that eventually led to an epic change. What began as a way to escape the monotony of confinement and restrictions quickly became a passionate quest. Hajia Ramat, with her unwavering determination, transformed these two ponds into a thriving aquaponics system producing fish and rice on the farm.

Today, when you enter his farm, you are greeted by the sight of 28 stunning ponds, each bursting with life. The growth and expansion of his farm is nothing short of remarkable and a testament to his hard work, resilience and unwavering commitment to excellence.

But Hajia Ramat Omosanya's story is not just about fish farming; it's about breaking down gender barriers and embracing technology to revolutionise traditional practices. Her situation resembles the intersection of destiny and passion

Members of the Artificial Intelligence for Women in Aquaculture (AI4WA) team visited the farm and recognised its potential and the impact it could have on its community. The AI4WA team saw an opportunity to collaborate, combining Hajia's practical experience with cutting-edge Industry 4.0 technologies.

This partnership marks the start of a new chapter in his agricultural career, one that will redefine and reshape the industry, leading to a world of infinite possibilities.

This research project, funded by the Gender Responsive Artificial Intelligence Network (GRAIN), aims to introduce AI into aquaculture in sub-Saharan Africa. The main objective of this GRAIN-funded project is to encourage more women to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields by actively involving them in AI-based aquaculture research. This effort aims to break down gender barriers and inspire the next generation of women scientists and technologists in the field of aquaculture.

As well as promoting gender equality, the partnership is committed to unlocking women's potential in terms of skills and national development. Hence the need to introduce Hajia to the world of Artificial Intelligence and its applications in aquaculture. With the support of the institution, she will discover the power of AI-based solutions to monitor and manage ponds more effectively. Remote sensing, data analysis and predictive algorithms are an integral part of the aquaculture farming system.

Professor AM Aibinu, Senior Research Fellow and Vice-Chancellor of Summit University, Offa, Kwara State, Nigeria, emphasised during the visit that adopting technology to revolutionise traditional practices is not just about fish farming, but also about breaking down gender barriers. AI will play a central role in making aquaculture more sustainable by optimising the use of resources and minimising environmental impact. He also pointed out that universities at the forefront of AI in aquaculture have the opportunity to lead the development of environmentally friendly aquaculture solutions, attracting environmentally conscious students and researchers, thereby enhancing the sustainability of the industry.

During the visit, co-researcher Mutiat Muhammed stressed that integrating AI into aquaculture with a focus on women would contribute to diversity, inclusion, sustainability and innovation in the aquaculture sector. In her view, this is essential for a fairer and more prosperous future.

 Other members of the AI4WA team present during the visit to Toke Farm included Nafisat Lawal, Maryam Afolabi, Malik Ige, Salawudeen Aminah, Mr Yusuf Sholola and Mr Taiwo Ogundeyi.

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