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Seeds of Silicon: How the Internet of Things Can Improve Agricultural Outcomes

  • In Innovation
  • 20 Jan 2020 - 5:46pm
  • By Mark Wamai
  • 16
Emmanuel Biketi, Horticulture Manager at Kikaboni Farm in Olooloitikosh, Kenya with an Upande temperature and relative humidity IoT device. Photo Credit: Dan Sweeney

USAID/Feed the Future/Agrilinks | Anish Paul Antony, Craig Jolley, Dan Sweeney | January 20

Approximately 500 million small and family farms around the world, mostly in developing countries, contribute 80 percent of the global food supply. By 2050, the demand for food is expected to double as the world population reaches 9 billion, which will require an increase in agricultural productivity, especially in these emerging economies.

Despite this rapidly increasing demand, smallholder farmers face growing challenges, including an increase in climate variability and pressures on farmland from urbanization.

A potential solution? Precision agriculture.

Precision agriculture augments a farmer's decision-making ability by integrating advances in our understanding of crop growth through sensor technology, wireless connectivity, and cloud computing. An essential component of precision agriculture is low-cost, connected sensors that can measure important parameters related to farming. Data from these sensors are transmitted via wireless networks, aggregated in web-based data storage, analyzed, packaged into a recommendation, and fed back to help farmers make decisions. This suite of devices and services is called the Internet of Things for Agriculture, or IoT for Ag.

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