Big Blue teams up with fertilizer company Yara for smart farming platform
IBM is getting into the farming business by partnering with Yara, a multinational fertilizer company. The two organizations will create a smart farming platform that gives farmers and agricultural companies around the world real-time actionable intelligence to optimize crop production.
The Lowdown: Norway-based Yara, one of the largest fertilizer companies in the world, with operations in more than 60 countries, will provide the cultivation and operational knowledge of the agricultural industry. IBM is adding its cloud computing, Big Data, and artificial intelligence capabilities. The secret ingredient in this farming recipe is IBM’s The Weather Channel, the weather forecasting service it acquired in 2016. The intent is to translate digital intelligence into greater productivity that yields more crops per acre.
The Details: The smart farming platform will role out later this year. IBM and Yara aim to provide coverage of its smart farming and artificial intelligence systems for 100 million hectares (247 million acres), or 7% of the arable land worldwide. The first step is IBM and Yara forming innovation centers in Europe, Singapore, the United States, and Brazil.
The Impact: The global population will top 8.7 billion people by 2030. The agricultural industry sees smart farming, driven by Internet of Things technology, as a means of increasing crop yields on smaller parcels of land to meet growing food production needs. According to analyst firm MarketandMarkets, the smart agriculture market will top $13.5 billion by 2030.
The Buzz: “Our collaboration centers around a common goal to make a real difference in agriculture. To be able to responsibly feed a growing population, it’s critical that farmers increase food production on existing farmland to avoid deforestation,” said Terje Knutsen, Yara’s executive vice president of sales and marketing. “Yara and IBM will develop digital solutions that empower professional and smallholder farmers to optimize farming practices to increase yields, crop quality, and incomes in a sustainable way.”
“As demand for food rises along with the world’s population, the digital farming platform will play a key role in increasing global farming yields in a sustainable way,” said Luq Niazi, global managing director of Consumer Industries at IBM. “The collaboration is a perfect symbiosis of IBM’s capabilities in AI, Big Data management, and blockchain technology and Yara’s agronomic knowledge, farmer-centric digital innovation, and proven track record in improving farming across the globe.”