Yara and IBM team up to develop world-leading digital farming platform

The partnership is set to empower farmers through emerging tech to increase productivity through the use of new precision farming
The partnership is set to empower farmers through emerging tech to increase productivity through the use of new precision farming

A global agricultural company will join forces with multinational IT giant IBM to develop the world’s leading digital farming platform.

The platform, to be created by the US company and Yara International, will provide holistic digital services and instant agronomic advice that hopes to increase global food production.

Yara, a Norway-based crop nutrition company, will use IBM's expertise in artificial intelligence and data analytics to 'responsibly feed a growing population'.

The two companies will develop digital solutions that aims to empower farmers to optimise farming practices to increase yields, crop quality and incomes in a sustainable way.

The digital platform will have worldwide coverage and aspires to reach 100 million hectares of farmland – which is equivalent to twice the size of Spain or close to 7 percent of all arable land worldwide including millions of smallholder farms.

Luq Niazi, of IBM, said the digital farming platform will play a 'key role' in increasing global farming yields in a sustainable way.

“The collaboration is a perfect symbiosis of IBM’s capabilities in AI, big data management and blockchain technology and Yara’s agronomic knowledge, farmer-

centric digital innovation, and proven track record in improving farming across the globe.”

As a first step, the companies will establish teams collaborating at digital hubs in Europe, Singapore, the US and Brazil. They will work closely with IBM researchers to develop new capabilities, such as visual analytics and machine learning techniques for crop insights.

The first services are planned for end 2019.

Weather data

The partnership will focus on all aspects of farm optimisation. But one specific area of collaboration will be weather data, which is critical for farming.

It will provide hyperlocal weather forecasts and give real-time actionable recommendations, tailored to the specific needs of individual fields and crops.

As the joint digital farming platform expands, the teams will explore business solutions to integrate the joint platform into the IBM Food Trust, IBM’s blockchain-enabled network of food chain players.

IBM says this will allow for greater traceability and supply chain efficiency as well as ways to tackle food fraud, food waste and sustainability.

The partnership contract was signed in April 2019.