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How IBM is helping Farmers Deal with Weather Challenges?

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

Unpredictable weather is one of the most restrictive factors in the agriculture industry. Droughts, irregular or unseasonal rain and vagaries of nature create big challenges for the farmers all over the world.

But slowly and steadily, technology is trying to help the farmers. IBM Research-India is uniting multiple, global satellite-based information sources to create agronomic-specific insight to assist farmers. The company is developing prediction models via data and artificial intelligence in order to help farmers improve crop yield as well as productivity.

Vice-President, IBM Research - India & Singapore Sriram Raghavan said though agriculture is a trillion-dollar industry, it experiences major headwinds such as climate change, population growth and food security.

It also faces other uncertainties like regional weather events, speedy shifts in market demand, and fluctuating crop prices and then a clear picture comes to mind as to why agri-players are searching for technology to preserve and improve crop yields.

Raghavan said, “We have a set of services & combine multiple sources of satellite data and geospatial temporal data. And by using public data from different satellites - from the US and European states, we can obtain fine-grained information using artificial intelligence”.

He added that the data so generated can also help in predicting soil moisture. Raghavan said, “Just as the crop health is essential, so is the access to water. Hence we combine information from various satellites to present a highly accurate picture”.

The Weather Company that the IBM obtained in 2015 gives access to terabytes of highly detailed, regularly updated, global satellite data. “As we possess The Weather Company, we can correctly predict high risk of pest and disease attack almost 14 days beforehand,” said the Vice-president.

IBM Research India and The Weather Company have collaborated with agri start-ups like AgroStar to collect data and create solutions. IBM, with AgroStar works with farmers in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The company is also associating with RML Ag Tech or FarmBee that develops apps in 7 Indian languages including Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Bangla etc.

Mentioning that their app, which offers agriculture support solutions to the farmers on mobile, is widely used in the farming community, Raghavan added that RML relies on high quality and correct weather data as a factor to make its advisory pertinent to client needs.

IBM also partners with AgRisk, a committed modelling and Analytics Company in the Indian agriculture sector.

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