Effective use of data can generate new responses to humanity’s most urgent challenges, protecting the environment and boosting rural production.
Pixie has the ability to travel between the most remote parts of the world, helping people solve problems and make better decisions. Are we talking about a new superhero about to release a series on a streaming platform? No, Pixie is just one of the 45 zettabytes generated globally in 2019, something like 145 billion terabytes.
Data knows no borders and has the capacity to transform lives, regardless of whether it is generated on a mountain or a plain, or if it comes from the center of a big city or a small rural town. Their effective use can generate new responses to humanity’s most urgent challenges, such as the fight against climate change and food insecurity.
On Earth Day, rethinking the future of agriculture is essential for Latin America and the Caribbean, where agricultural activities use more than a third of the total area, consume 75% of freshwater resources and generate almost half of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to World Bank data.
Data and agriculture
A new World Bank report points to the key role that agriculture plays in the region. In addition to feeding a rapidly growing population, it facilitates economic development, generates large exports, and helps reduce regional hunger and poverty. However, it also faces future challenges, having to reinvent itself to reduce its environmental impact.
The unprecedented growth of information technologies and the intensive use of data may be one of the central axes for the future of the activity. Quality data can play a key role in minimizing the environmental footprint and thus combining productivity with sustainability. Massive volumes of information from multiple sources can be captured, analyzed and used to generate predictive analysis on agricultural activities, improving decision making in real time.
By increasing efficiency and facilitating the traceability of supply chains and production processes, data-driven technologies can reduce waste generated, enable circular solutions, promote sustainable sourcing of inputs, and facilitate responsible decision-making by manufacturers. producers and consumers.
“Having greater control of knowledge inputs allows risk management strategies to be established and that these help to smooth income fluctuations, as well as improvements in efficiency and access to markets. All this points to the sustainability of resources, and to strengthening the process of economic and human development”, says Pablo Valdivia, a senior specialist in agriculture at the World Bank.
“Distance and infrastructure problems make it difficult for agronomists and specialists to visit the communities, which means that these producers continue using very old techniques, with low productivity, without technology and a lot of food waste. We seek to structure projects that allow families to have constant income and do them under fair trade conditions”, says Paula Aponte, CEO of Curubatech.
Through technologies that make connection possible even in geographical points with little connectivity, Curubatech allows specialized technicians to have georeferenced data, which in turn leads rural producers to introduce more environmentally friendly practices and improve their yields. Together with other associated logistical and productive solutions such as AMACA (Agro Administrative Model of Competitiveness by Association), they seek to accompany production from the seed to the supermarket.
Like Curubatech, a report from the Inter-American Development Bank identified in 2018 more than 450 private enterprises whose main objective was technological innovation in the rural sector, allowing the development of new solutions and improving environmental impact.
In addition to the environmental impact, the ventures have the potential to empower small and medium-sized rural producers, who with more information, knowledge, and visibility can better enter and compete in the markets.