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Microsoft previews ‘data-driven’ farming platform as solution to global food demand boom

| | November 5, 2019
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Image: Venture Beat
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The global population is expected to increase by 2.2 billion by 2050, and the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70% more food than is now produced.

If you ask Microsoft, the solution lies in technology. The tech giant’s FarmBeats program …. is a multi-year effort to bring robust data analytics to the agriculture sector. With a backend built on Azure and compatibility with hardware from a range of top manufacturers, it aims to promote what FarmBeats project lead and chief scientist at Azure Global Ranveer Chandra calls “data-driven” farming techniques. The International Food Policy Research Institute claims these can boost farm productivity by as much as 67% while reducing resource usage.

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FarmBeats kicked off in 2015 with a prototype for an internet of things (IoT) platform for agriculture — a platform that enabled “seamless” data collection from sensors, cameras, and drones. Chandra drew personal inspiration from his grandparents’ farm in India and from an Accenture survey that found fewer than 20% of farmers use sensors, drones, and other tech for crop planning, owing to costs and flaky connectivity.

Read full, original article: With FarmBeats, Microsoft makes a play for the agriculture market

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