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Solving the food crisis will have to be collaborative

June 12, 2018

Practically every article about agricultural technology opens with the statistic about how many people we’ll have to feed in X year. (By 2050, a global population of 9.8 billion will demand 70% more food than is consumed today.)

So how do we adapt and keep going?

Some claim to have the exact answer, but let’s be honest: it’s unlikely that there’s one singular solution. But looking back at human history, it appears clear no one will do it alone, in a vacuum.

Sharing stories about growers’ innovation and achievements is important. Shared, collaborative agricultural development always has been. Across the globe, fairs, festivals and holidays celebrating harvests continue to be a part of local cultures. Agricultural exchange and development is at the core of modern society. It’s how culture is built, transmitted and transmuted. It’s how we adapt and keep going.

No individual will solve the oncoming challenges of feeding this planet. In order to succeed, growers, researchers and technologists (among others) will have to tackle these problems together.

Big agricultural organizations will doubtless contribute significantly. Traditionally, they’ve been the ones with the resources to collect and analyze data in the most sophisticated ways. But accessible agritech is changing that.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned working at 30MHz, it’s that the “big guys” don’t have a monopoly on innovation. Any agribusiness, any grower, of any size, can discover new methods to make the most of their resources. But they need two things to truly make an impact:

The ability to gather accurate data on their crops (without exuberant costs) [check.]

and

the ability to selectively share that data with peers, researchers, consultants and their communities [check.]

For growers, data on crops and the effect of their growing strategies is valuable intellectual property. That’s why our customers are the sole proprietors of their data, free to download their information in a convenient CSV at any time.

We know, though, that full control over your data is the freedom to collaborate and share on your own terms. With social features, we give customers the power to decide what they share (sensors, widgets, dashboards), with whom, and to what degree. Innovation that once traveled across trade routes, and met wherever two cultures crossed paths, can now happen digitally on a global scale.

(in this image: identifying the ideal moments for irrigation based on sensor data)

With shared graphs and data visualizations, we’ve seen growers exchange best practices and insights with peers an ocean away— leading to energy savings, lower costs, and more sustainable agriculture.

(in this image: a pointed microclimate sensor monitors crop-level conditions)

(in this image: crop-level insights on rootzone and VPD help customers prevent over- and under- watering) 

(in this image: preventing unnecessary disease risks with insights on dew point)

(in this image: identifying cold storage malfunction with real-time data)

You don’t have to be a multinational to be forward-thinking. You don’t have to be the biggest player in your industry to innovate, and develop sustainable, productive approaches to your crops. You don’t have to be a unicorn to be an early adopter of cutting edge technology.

Who’s going to feed the world? My money is on innovative growers of all sizes, sharing knowledge based on data from their own crops and environments, helping make the most of their resources.

 

Joanna Madej oversees Marketing + Communications at 30MHz

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