Photo courtesy of FAO.
The agreement signed Feb. 12 between the FAO and Telefonica, a Spain-based telecommunications company, will use the Internet of Things and Big Data to improve access to information related to climate and water management in the Central American Dry Corridor.
Overall, the three-year agreement includes three main areas of cooperation. The groups envision joint initiatives targeting innovation, digitalization, data analysis and systems so that farmers can access vital information to improve their livelihoods and strengthen their resilience to climate change.
“This partnership will help us face one of the greatest current challenges in the fight against hunger, poverty and the effects of climate change in agriculture,” said José Graziano da Silva, FAO director general. “Access to reliable information, including that related to changing weather patterns, is essential to empower farmers, especially those who live in developing countries.”
The agreements three main areas include:
? Application of the Internet of Things — the digital interconnection of everyday objects to the internet — to the agricultural sector to optimize processes and make more efficient use of natural resources.
The FAO and Telefónica are working on a pilot water efficiency project with communities in El Salvador and Colombia, using a combination of specialized hardware, cloud storage and data processing that generates recommendations to facilitate decision-making for farmers on issues related to irrigation for an efficient use of water.
The initiative, which also uses artificial intelligence algorithms developed by Telefónica, will be replicated in areas of the Central American Dry Corridor.
? Use of Big Data — management and analysis of a huge and varied amount of data — on weather patterns to establish early warning systems. Specifically, it will help analyze how climate change affects population movements in the areas of the Central American Dry Corridor and Colombia most affected by the phenomena of El Niño and La Niña.
? Digital education and capacity building: part of the FAO’s educational content will be incorporated into Telefónica’s open training platforms. For example, users will be able to learn about food systems, nutrition and agricultural development in Miríadax, the first Ibero-American platform for Massive Open Online Courses (better known as MOOCs).