Smart Farm is:
“The use of data and information becomes increasingly crucial for the agriculture sector to improve productivity and sustainability. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) substantially increases the effectiveness and efficiency of collecting, storing, analyzing and using data in agriculture (Walter et al., 2017). It allows agricultural practitioners and farming communities to easily obtain update-to-date information and thus make better decisions in their daily farming (Kaddu and Haumba, 2016). “
The new technology can help the farmer to manger their crop field remotely, control the environment, save man power and set automation in the routine farming. Working with 5G and big data, the technology can help the farmer to plan the planting of the crops by getting more information in the weather forecast and weather alert.
Small farmland in South East Asia:
The new technology need heavy investment, training and even government support. However in South East Asia, Africa and South America most of the farmland are small in size and in family base. The farmers lack of fund and knowledge to install and manage the smart farm technology. Other than government’s direct involvement, the only way to motivate the small farmland farmers to invest and learn the new technology is helping them to sell their product and earn more profit. If they see the future and the potential of new technology, they are willing to invest a part of their profit in the system and spend time to learn how to use the technology. The market is the step stone for the development of the smart farm for the small farmland farmers. In the old day, the market is far away. But now the e-commerce platform make the market is so close to them. The market is the platform in the internet! The only criteria to go to the market is getting a mobile phone, enough electricity supply and the coverage of internet connection. They are all ready in the countryside of most of the South East Asia countries nowadays.
“Disruptive solutions – such as smart sensors that collect data on soil and crop growth, or drones that provide imagery of field conditions – are believed to increase farm productivity. But they all carry hefty price tags, with some drones costing more than $1,000 each.
That price is unrealistic for many average-sized farms in the region, which are not as big as their Western counterparts and have significantly smaller budgets.
Grow Asia, a partnership platform established by the World Economic Forum and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Secretariat, found that its 60 proposed digital technology solutions are used by just 2.5 percent of Southeast Asia’s 71 million smallholder farmers.”
The platform help the small farmland farmers to find the buyer. The buyer can support the farmers to use the smart farm. The using of smart farm can help the farmers to sell their products in better price. Then a good circulation start. Connect the platform (market) with the small farmland farmers can kick start the smart farm for small farmland in South East Asia or even Africa and South America.
The purchasing power is the force to help the small farmland farmers.
Other than the price, the buyers in some market like Canada’s would like to know more about the what they bought and ate.
“Today, people want to know exactly where their food comes from. A desire to eat healthy combined with the widespread adoption of technology across all domains has resulted in agribusinesses searching for supply chain management software to improve food safety, food quality, and the traceability of the entire farming supply chain.”
Then organic food is the focus:
“Why Buy Organic? Consumers purchase organic foods for many different reasons. Many want to buy food products that are free of chemical pesticides or grown without conventional fertilizers. Some simply like to try new and different products ……. In 2007 it was estimated that over 60 per cent of consumers bought some organic products. Approximately five per cent of consumers are considered to be core organic consumers who buy up to 50 per cent of all organic food.”
In Canada, there are labels to show the organic food. The price of the products are higher than the ordinary food.
In Canada, the buyers also concern about the “Fairtrade” :
“What is FairTrade? Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.”
Organic farm focus in the quality of the product and fairtrade focus in the working condition and living standard of the farmers and workers. Fairtrade is more concern about the social justice. It can also help to discourage the employing of black labour and child labour, which are very popular in South East Asia, in very low salary paid or even work like a slave without any payment.
There are authorities in different countries to certify the organic food and Fairtrade products. After collected the data and format it into block chain data, the platform can help the small farmland farmers to apply for those certificates.
Smart farm can generate different kind of data from the farm. However, the block chain smart farm data focus in the data that can share, especially can share with the buyer. Block Chain is a system that build the trust in sharing and in equal status (decentralize, P2P). The block chain data of an e-commerce platform with focus in the data that can share between the buyer and the seller. So the block chain data in e-commerce platform would focus in what kind of data that the buyers need to make their decision. Some very technical terms or data that generate by the smart farm can help the farmers to manage their farm, but not necessary for the buyers. Even too much information would confuse the buyers or increase the transaction cost of the buyers.
Most of the smart farm data is for managing the farm, not for the buyers:
“-Hyperlayer data concept development including generation and utilization of multiple layers of geospatial data for the creation of predictive algorithms, mapping plant available soil nutrients, and identification of yield limiting factors.
-Using as-applied data to assess overlap reduction with sectional control technologies
Compilation of training data sets and specific data layers to validate and optimize novel soil and crop mapping techniques
-Development of a user guide that outlines prescription mapping methods from different service providers and the corresponding file formats
-Evaluation and summary of features for various farm data management platforms”
Even too much information would confuse the buyers or increase the transaction cost of the buyers. What the buyers are looking for relevant information. In our block chain e-commerce platform solution, the buyers concern about the organic and Fairtrade. Most of the buyers in the block chain e-commerce platform is common people. They are not the expert in farming. So the data we provided should be in intuitive and easy to understand.
“If You Have Too Much Data, then “Good Enough” Is Good Enough”
“These are the costs associated with looking for relevant information and meeting with agents with whom the transaction will take place.”
In our solution, the static information such as the legal information of the company, geographic environment and position of the farm, certificate of the products and pictures of farm is good enough for the buyers to make their decision. The role of block chain is guarantee the data comes from the real farm or company and the data is immutable.
Even the presentation of the data can be generated into charts or table that the buyers can easily make the decision, no numeric data is need. The platform is a good place to collect suitable data and present to the potential buyers.