Yara IBMYara International, a provider of crop nutrition and digital farming solutions, and IBM are inviting farmer associations, industry players, academia and NGOs from the food and agriculture industry to join a movement. This movement aims to develop an open data exchange which will facilitate collaboration around farm and field data.

Terje Knutsen, Yara EVP Sales and Marketing
Terje Knutsen, Yara EVP Sales and Marketing

It is our collective responsibility to overcome siloes and work together to bring innovation to the way we produce food. The transition towards a more sustainable food system requires data-driven customized solutions for every field and farm. Trusted data sharing is one key element where we can jointly make a difference which will benefit all, from farmers all the way to end consumers,” says Terje Knutsen, Yara EVP Sales and Marketing.

The need

An open data exchange could address some of the complexities of today’s food system. This will matter increasingly where every farm will play a role in satisfying the rising global demand for food.

In this, technology and digital innovation have the potential to contribute towards a step-change in the sustainability, transparency, and resource efficiency of the local as well as global food supply. High quality farm and field data should be one of the foundations that make this possible.

Today, however, farm and field data are typically:

  • dispersed
  • non-compatible
  • inaccessible.

Furthermore, there are obstacles which impede data collaboration, such as simultaneously:

  • securing the benefits of sharing data broadly
  • respecting data privacy for farmers and protecting proprietary information.

Yara, IBM and Open Farm & Field Data Exchange

To overcome these challenges, Yara and IBM believe a collaborative approach is essential. The Open Farm & Field Data Exchange aims to bring data together from various players to address concrete issues and enable innovation:

  • sharing data will enable farmers to receive higher value services and to be paid in return for sharing their data
  • use of the open data exchange platform can aid both farmers and value chain players to meet potential regulatory requirements.

The aim of an open data exchange is, therefore, to improve the efficiency, transparency and sustainability of global food production. Use of an open data exchange platform should make it easier for farmers to track and report information which reflect based on local regulations.

The invitation

Yara and IBM are inviting early movers from the agriculture and food industry to:

  • join in piloting concrete test cases
  • define the principles and practicalities of data collaboration.

Participants will contribute to the development of a food ecosystem designed to:

  • enable data-driven innovation
  • address changing consumer preferences
  • reduce the environmental footprint of food production.
Mark Foster, senior vice president, IBM Services and Global Business Services
Mark Foster, senior vice president, IBM Services and Global Business Services

When IBM and Yara developed the first digital farming collaboration, we centered around a joint vision to make a real difference in increasing global farming yields in a sustainable way,” said Mark Foster, senior vice president, IBM Services and Global Business Services.

We believe the agriculture industry needs to invest in exponential technologies such as AI, IoT, and big data to help address climate change and population growth as it threatens the world’s ability to produce enough food. Together with Yara, we are taking a major step towards transforming the global food system by inviting all food value chain players to join this collaborative movement to help feed the world more efficiently and sustainably.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

This new initiative seeks to build on technology foundation established in the context of the Yara-IBM partnership launched in 2019. In this the two companies joined forces to connect and support farmers around the world.

While the initial focus of their joint work focused on farm and field data management becoming data-driven, Yara and IBM are seeking to expand data-driven innovation to the broader community.  They hope this will:

  • help feed a growing global population in a more sustainable and climate-friendly way
  • allow the world to grow more food yet with a smaller environmental footprint.
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Charles Brett is a business/technology analyst consultant. His specialist areas include enterprise software, blockchain and enterprise mobility tech (including metering). Specific industry sectors of interest and experience include finance (especially systems supporting wholesale finance), telecommunications and energy. Charles has spoken at multiple industry conferences, has written for numerous publications (including the London Times and the Financial Times). He was the General Chair of the bi-annual High Performance Systems Workshop, 2005. In addition he is an author and novelist. His Technology books include: Making the Most of Mobility Vol I (eBook, 2012); Explaining iTunes, iPhones and iPads for Windows Users (eBook, 2011); 5 Axes of Business Application Integration (2004). His published novels, in the Corruption Series, include: The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis, Corruption’s Price: A Spanish Deceit and Virginity Despoiled. The fourth in The Corruption Series - Resurrection - has is now available. Charles has a B.A. and M.A in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has lived or worked in Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, California and New York, Spain, Israel, Estonia and Cyprus.

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