The Mexican Space Agency (AEM), which is a decentralized body of SCT, and Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEMEX), signed an agreement to collaborate on a pilot program that will use satellite technology to increase agricultural productivity through “precision agriculture.” The SCT press release claims the present and future importance of this practice is supported by studies from the Inter-American Development Bank. UAEMEX was chosen for this task after opening its National Laboratory of Earth Observation (LANOT), which gathers and processes satellite imagery and data.
Precision agriculture is not so much a technology as it is a methodology to increase agricultural productivity through strictly enforced practices of observation, measurement and response to crop variations. The data that this generates is then used to build a Decision Support System, a digital information system that can predict patterns and suggest managerial actions to be taken to increase profits while preserving resources.
The system can involve observation and measurements from space (although drones and ground sensors are also common). This kind of approach is applied in the developing world, from AI and satellite data in Kenya’s logging industry through a company called Komaza (as reported here by The East African) to an Indian startup called Farmonaut using satellite sensors to predict crop diseases (as reported here by EDEXLive) to Russian companies PhosAgro and Exact Farming producing a digital crop nutrient monitoring system that checks the effectiveness of fertilizers and their most efficient use through satellite surveillance, (as reported here by World Fertilizer Magazine). A similar ecosystem of startups and technological firms could grow in Mexico if the public infrastructure is available.
The latest GlobeNewswire market report released this week claims that the global precision agriculture market has a remarkable compound annual growth rate of 10.9 percent. According to their summary, “factors such as increasing population, shrinking arable land, shifting farmer demographics in the US, the emergence of sensors and improving consumer confidence indexes are expected to drive the market. Few notable trends include rising market consolidation activities, growing exposure of Internet of Things (IoT) in agriculture and increasing demand for drones. The fastest-growing regional market is North America.”
For further reading on this subject, check out our aerospace piece on the AEM agreement released earlier today, available here.