Future of Business

How is IBM Cultivating technology to empower the Agriculture Industry of Tomorrow?

Indian farmers are heavily impacted by the vagaries of nature, which influence each stage of agriculture – from sowing to irrigation to harvesting. Weather aberrations wreak havoc on crops and cause physical damage to the soil. This necessitates the need for accurate predictions to create seamless farm-to-consumer journeys. Accurate rain forecasts and a better understanding of weather impact on crop health can help farmers make informed, preemptive decisions. And they need this information at a hyper-local, sub-acre level.

The pandemic too, has posed a new set of challenges before the farmers. With social distancing norms in place and the fear for one’s safety and well-being, farmers face a shortage in labor supply to move their harvest.

It is against this backdrop that the need for farmers to go digital is more substantial now than ever!

Digitally enabled agriculture empowers farmers to have access to weather information in real-time through phones or other digital devices. Right investments and purposeful innovation in digital transformation for the agricultural sector can help farmers overcome their chronic challenges. It can also eliminate the need for mass gathering for inspection or any such tasks which require physical attention.

IBM helps farmers weather it out
Understanding this dependency of Indian farmers on the weather and its profound implications, IBM has developed weather monitoring tools that enable a climate-smart approach for precision agriculture. Working with the Ministry of Agriculture, IBM has already implemented successful pilot projects in Rajkot, Nanded, Bhopal and Varanasi. “IBM tied up with the Karnataka Agricultural Price Commission in the area of tomato production to develop an advanced first of its kind price forecasting system,” informs Sandip Patel, Managing Director, IBM India & South Asia.

The company is also providing free access to its weather monitoring tools to farmers and agri-tech. This Operations Dashboard – developed by IBM’s subsidiary, The Weather Company – aims to assist farmers and supply chain-focused startups with accurate decision-making every month.

How does this work?
The dashboard combines IBM Graph, its supercomputing model and Weather Company data. It uses AI, predictive analysis, ML, IoT, remote sensing and cloud to help bridge the gap between farmers and the supply chain.

It sends out forecasts alerts to users about weather conditions, suggests actions to be taken and provides unique agronomical business insights. Farmers are thus better informed and able to take preemptive, accurate decisions on harvesting, processing, storage, and supply of their produce. The dashboard can be accessed online as well as on mobiles keeping users informed even when on the move.

The dashboard also provides access to timely data such as information on regions growing certain types of crops, the right price of produce and other data that may impact demand and supply cycles. This information can help supply chain managers to better plan transportation to minimize food wastage and spoilage.

The move towards precision agriculture is a significant step for India. By partnering with the Indian farmer, IBM is using its strength as an expert technology partner to enable the nation to move closer to its goal of complete digital transformation.