In a recent study that was conducted across six Central American landscapes, 860 smallholder farmers were interviewed to understand how they perceive climate change. Amongst the lot of coffee, maize and bean cultivators, 95% experienced climate change and its ill effects on their produce.
And it’s not the case with just 860 farmers in Central America. About 85 in every 100 farms across the world are operated and run by smallholder farmers, who experience the same. Farmer’s most dependable source for practicing agriculture — weather, which guides the patterns of rain, heat, wind and moisture is becoming the most insecure and unpredictable increasing stress and anxiety amongst the community across the globe.
A farmer’s hard work of months can be swiftly taken down by a sudden rain or hailstorm or a pest attack in hours. To top it all, lack of finances, improper support from the public institutions and limited accessibility to technological know-how often pushes them into a cycle of poverty.
In the last few years, countries in Asia Pacific, Latam and Africa have been facing multiple blows and repeated cycles of floods, droughts, cyclones and unexpected rainfall. With the altered patterns of moisture in the soil and air, the life cycle of pests has changed, leading to the increased frequency of disease outbreaks. The impact of changing climate increases the likelihood of poor yields, crop failure and livestock mortality. This is a direct effect of climate change on marginalized people, impacting both their livelihoods and lives.
In times like these, practicing farming being dependent on nature is a task that may not be sustainable or functional for long. Not only for smallholder farmers, who are more susceptible to losses, but also for the large farmers, in more developed countries in America and Europe.
To deal with such challenges, an early warning can be a small contribution in reducing losses by a huge factor.
Integrated systems of hazard monitoring, forecasting and prediction, disaster risk assessment, communication and preparedness activities prepares and enables individuals — like farmers, and others including communities, governments, businesses. One of the ways to scatter such ideas is by capacity building, which helps in diverse ways. By training the farmers and strengthening the innovative process it builds linkages between farmers and the various stakeholders at different levels involved in a crop cycle, resulting in better outcomes.
Farms.io has been trying to bind the agricultural community and evolve the capacity building structure through advanced climate information delivery. Using its models based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, Farms.io implements weather predictions based on two indexes. One, Climate index, which is to measure the impact of weather anomalies and its effect on the vegetation. And the other, Environmental index, which is used to monitor the historical, present and future environmental conditions.
For example, when an Agri-input company in India that focuses on seed breeding was facing issues with productivity due to climate change, pest attack, and diseases, Farms.io deployed solutions to resolve the concerns of the company. As part of the solution, Farms.io developed a solution based on satellite information to track the real time health data of the crops. The solution traces all the activities related to agronomic practices and compares the lands over the years to keep in consideration various dynamic and static parameters which can impact farming practices in the region. This system helped the company to effectively monitor the sample breeding, seed ratio, cultivation activity and assisted them to predict their next course of action well in advance to increase the eventual yield.
Farms.io’s research team collates satellite data, government statistics and aligns it with local knowledge to analyze and detect crop vulnerability. Using this, Farms.io has been able to estimate and predict crop stress, weather warnings and market fluctuations. It further delivers the knowledge to the farmers, policy makers and extension officers, before time through simple and easily accessible mobile applications.
For example, solutions by Farms.io are monitoring the growth and status of vegetables in Maharashtra, India and it updates the stakeholders in the value chain about the sowing status, expected harvest rate, deviation in yield etc. by comparing years of data collected from multiple sources. This has led to risk mitigation in the supply chain gap, optimizing the supply chain, and better price control.