US: According to a latest report by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the world population will reach 9.1 billion, 34 percent higher than today’s population, by 2050. This population explosion will require better farming procedures to produce more food. Providing a solution to this major challenge, GIS software technology firm Esri said that GIS can be used by farmers to analyse and visualise agricultural environments for a better harvest.
GIS tools help farmers conduct crop forecasting. Using Esri’s ArcGIS, they can collect georeference samples in cultivated areas and apply a statistical process to the samples. After completing the data, they create a geodatabase that helps farmers make better decisions. This forecasting measure helps them better accurately conduct harvest and save on spoilage, meaning more food gets to people.
To prove its point, Esri gave example of two case studies conducted by the company. Colombian coffee bean farmers used GIS technology to update a 20-year-old survey of coffee production. The Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia (FNC) was formed to represent the interests of the small coffee growers in the country and faced a problem in centralising the data collected from its farms. This impacted the federation’s ability to negotiate better coffee prices based on coffee yield predictions across the entire country.
FNC used ArcGIS analytic tools for crop forecasting. The beans were counted and weighed, then statistical processes were applied to extrapolate crop estimates for the succeeding six-month period, according to an Esri case study. After completing their samplings, the FNC field service teams uploaded the crop yield data into a geodatabase through either an Internet-based server application or a custom-built ArcGIS Mobile application, Esri said.
In another Esri case study, Australia sugarcane producers used GIS to improve operations. The Herbert Resource Information Centre (HRIC), a non profit organisation that supports sustainable development of the sugarcane industry, used web-based GIS applications that included cane mapping and management, real-time cane harvester monitoring, sucrogen rail safe integration and cane yield monitoring systems. According to Esri, these applications use GIS to promote efficiency, productivity, and improved environmental outcomes for HRIC partners and sugarcane growers. It was specifically used to monitor the Herbert River catchment basin, which is sandwiched between two environmentally protected areas—Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Esri said the cane-growing industry uses the tools provided by HRIC to improve productivity while monitoring and reducing impact on the environment and maintaining community relations.
“Using Esri’s enterprise GIS has allowed us to integrate our various data inputs and provide real-time access for managers and decision makers. In development terms, we are doing things now in hours and days that would previously have taken us weeks and months. Technically, we can put in place anything we envision at the moment. Our challenge is to identify the business models that are sustainable and support those opportunities through GIS,” stated Raymond De Lai, HRIC manager.
Source: American Sentinel