IBM and Yara launch farm data sharing exchange

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Firms urge industry players to collaborate on farm and field data

IBM is urging the food and agriculture industry to work together to improve collaboration around farm and field data.

Joining with Yara International, a specialist in crop nutrition and digital farming solutions, IBM is launching The Open Farm & Field Data Exchange, which aims to encourage farming associations, food and agriculture industry players, academia and NGOs to share their data.

The company says sharing data allows farmers to receive higher value services, and they can be paid in return for sharing their data. It could also potentially make it easier for farmers to track and report
information based on local regulations help them to meet regulatory requirements, it notes.

Terje Knutsen – EVP, Sales & Marketing, Yara

It is our collective responsibility to overcome siloes and work together to bring innovation to the way we produce food,” says Terje Knutsen, Yara EVP sales and marketing (pictured). “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.”

The problem, IBM says, is that farm and field data are typically dispersed, non-compatible and inaccessible. Furthermore, “there are important concerns that stand in the way of data collaboration, such as securing the benefits of sharing data broadly, while respecting data privacy for farmers and protecting proprietary information.”

Building on their partnership first announced last year, Yara and IBM are looking to get early movers from the agriculture and food industry to jointly pilot concrete test cases and define the principles and practicalities of data collaboration.

In a statement IBM says the initial focus of the joint work is on farm and field data management as well as “data-driven, joint innovation for farmers.”

It argues that an open data exchange has the potential to bring huge value to farmers, including access to better insights to make the right decisions, leading to higher productivity and output, less waste, and increased profitability for many farmers.

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,” says Mark Foster, senior vice president, IBM Services and Global Business Services.

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.”

Yara says its partnership with IBM combines its agronomic knowledge and the vendor’s digital platforms, services and expertise in AI and data analytics.

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Christine writes about technology’s impact on business, and is a long-term contributor to specialist IT titles including Channel Pro and Microscope. She also writes for Raconteur and is regularly featured in The Times and Sunday Times.

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