Agriculture 4.0? Bayer Will Bring It to MexicoBy MBN Staff | Mon, 07/13/2020 - 09:58
Bayer will launch in Mexico a smart agriculture project with technology criticized for its lack of accessibility, together with the firm Prospera Technologies, specialized in the development of artificial intelligence. The project seeks to establish a system that optimizes profitability and agricultural sustainability, as well as the operations of vegetable growers in Mexican greenhouses through machine learning, Bayer said in a statement last week.
The initial launch and field exploration will begin this month in Mexico, where the alliance will work with various clients who will help to adjust the worldwide project Bayer plans to launch in the coming years.
“Our partnership with Prospera is the first step towards solutions beyond seeds for the vegetable greenhouse market. We look forward to innovating with customers to find new ways to solve the problems growers face every day," said Chris Moore, Manager of Bayer's agricultural division, according to the statement.
Daniel Koppel, Co-Founder of Prospera Technologies, said that the alliance with the German giant can generate "enormous value" for farmers thanks to its artificial intelligence algorithms. Smart agriculture is a technique that uses technology to improve the quantity and quality of agricultural products, according to the UN. It is also known as Agriculture 4.0 because it uses tools such as satellite geolocation (GPS) for soil scanning and data management. This helps farmers accurately measure variations within a field and tailor their crop and livestock accordingly, according to the UN Food and Agriculture agency.
In countries like Australia and Brazil, the use of "high technology" in the agricultural sector has reduced production costs by up to 50 percent, according to an article published by the Mexican Journal of Agricultural Sciences last year. "However, Mexico will have limitations to extend this model to the entire country, due to the costs of this technology and the country’s orographic and socioeconomic situation," explains the same article.
“These are perfect markets to apply blockchain and IoT due to their international nature. In Mexico, although it has been neglected by other administrations, agriculture production and distribution are in the midst of a digital transformation, which creates new opportunities. Farmers, for example, have a four-day window to pack their tomatoes in Mexico and send them to the supermarket in the US. IoT sensors are used to track temperature and humidity, as well as shock from dropping a case, to ensure that the tomatoes arrive in optimal conditions,” said Karl McDermott, Global Head of Business Development of Morpheus.Network in an interview with Mexico Business News.
Despite the promise of making food production more efficient, Agriculture 4.0 also faces opposition, with some arguing that it is a strategy of multinational companies to increase their participation in the sector.