David Hughes

Director, USAID Innovation Lab on Current and Emerging Threats to Crops & Founder, PlantVillage

About David Hughes

David Hughes is Director of USAID Innovation Lab on Current and Emerging Threats to Crops, as well as the Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Chair in Global Food Security at Penn State. David Hughes created PlantVillage, an initiative to empower farmers with agricultural knowledge and technologies using AI in smartphone apps that diagnose plant diseases, monitor weather and track insect outbreaks — all with an eye toward predicting crop yields and reducing global food insecurity. PlantVillage is twinned with the Dream Team, a youth force now working in 9 countries helping farmers cope with climate change. PlantVillage/USAID Threat Lab reach 14 million farmers/week with hyperlocal advice on climate change, crop diseases and agricultural practices that increase production. By late November that will be 17.5 million with goals to reach 50 million/week by 2023. During the recent locust outbreaks in Africa and Asia, Hughes worked with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (where he was a fellow) to use PlantVillage to locate and track insect swarms and assist in early warning and targeted spraying efforts. He also created Carbon4Good, a profit for purpose company that brings money from the carbon markets to farmers and pastoralists in Africa.

Stakeholder Group

Academia Government NGO/Civil Society

Intro Content

COVID-19 Recovery Artificial Intelligence Biodiversity Climate

Seven Meals from Anarchy? How AI, a global network of experts and the Dream Team can help farmers adapt to climate change

In the world of agriculture it is surely climate change that stands out as the existential threat. But through the tech- and youth-enabled sharing of knowledge, we can understand what works, what doesn't, and what we must do to grow enough food for the future. Banner: Shutterstock/NEERAZ CHATURVEDI


Channels contributed to:

Digitalisation Environment Equal Opportunities COVID-19 Crisis

Rooms participated in:

The Climate and Health Nexus


Online Elsewhere