Digital Agriculture

Base for the global economy and segment valued at $ 2.4 trillion, agribusiness has shown breath and space for transformations, even amidst the uncertainties of the market. This weight is even more relevant if we take into account projections about the increasing demands of the population and compare these data with our current reality. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in 2050, with 9 billion people on the planet, food production will have to increase by 70%. And not only that: to be sustainable, it is expected that this production in 30 years will happen without any increase of arable land.

Adding disquieting information to factors such as climate change, concerns about food safety and the need to reduce waste, the agro sector has been led to seek innovations to protect and improve the performance of the food chain.

And in recent years digital transformation in the field and in the supply chain already shows its effects. A recent study by Embrapa pointed out that 61% of rural producers already use smartphones and that the WhatsApp messaging application is the main means of communication in the rural area, with 96% adherence among those who access the internet.

In the midst of connectivity, artificial intelligence is constantly emerging as part of the technological evolution of this market. To assist farmers' decision-making, even small and medium-sized ones, researchers have been developing and putting in place tools that combine climate information - including historical data, current data and weather forecasting models - with crop metrics to provide access to forecasts more accurate and contribute to increased production and profitability using precision farming.

Through these platforms, which evaluate data in an electronic field record and use systems such as Blockchain, farmers can even work together with institutions such as food companies, grain processors, or distributors of products to leverage insights and build strategies.

These tools can also help to track crops, as well as understand the environmental, climatic and biological conditions of plants with good or poor yields, and thus improve irrigation management, pest and disease risk analysis, and compare subsets of similar fields.

In practice
In summary, these technologies may be the key, for example, for a cattle breeding company to eliminate certain fungi from feed grains or to identify best practices of crop irrigation for farmers to use in areas affected by drought.

They can also help produce the perfect fries for a fast food chain that needs longer potatoes - not longer. Or a brewer to produce a more affordable gourmet product by growing a higher quality barley that meets the standard required to become malted barley.

It is noteworthy that even if our advances are large, we still have much to explore and expand with the help of field sensing - an average farm generates about 500,000 data points per day and the goal is for them to grow to 4 million points by 2036.

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