Melisa chatbot - the 'oracle' for Colombian farmers
- Impact Area
The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) has just launched Melisa chatbot, an artificial intelligence system that provides agro-climatic forecasts. Available on Whatsapp, Facebook and Telegram, Melisa chatbot can be found and added as a friend on these social networks. Through the chat, members can ask her about what the weather will be like in the coming months, how much it will rain, and rice and corn crop yields – depending on the day the crop is sown and the variety of seed used.
In Greek mythology, Demeter was the goddess of agriculture. In ancient times she was believed to be the creator of the seasons; spring, summer, autumn and winter. According to the myth, she had a retinue of priestesses who were called ‘Melisas’, so to reach Demeter, people had to speak to one of her ‘Melisas’.
In keeping with Greek mythology, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT have just launched an artificial intelligence system that provides agro-climatic forecasts (Demeter) and a tool to consult the system, ‘Melisa chatbot’, available on Whatsapp, Facebook and Telegram.
“It all began in 2014, when CIAT started a project with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment, to develop a website to utilize agro-climatic bulletins that were generated from the agro-climatic technical committees in the regions. Three years later, we launched the agro-climatic forecasting platform Aclimate Colombia, which allows farmers to check rainfall forecasts in these times of climate change. Now, in 2022, we are launching Démeter, which is an artificial intelligence system that offers long-term weather forecasting, and predicts potential crop yields for rice and corn – depending on weather conditions. The service is now available to farmers through our chatbot Melisa”, explains Steven Sotelo, data science for climate change action researcher at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT (Alliance).