Combat Disease, Pests, and Drought with Digital Agriculture
February 27, 2018
Coffee is a $100 billion industry, with more than 500 billion cups of coffee consumed worldwide each year. That number is predicted to continue growing as coffee consumption increases in developing nations; however, coffee supply is facing a global crisis – climate change.
There is growing consensus among experts that climate change will severely affect coffee crops in this century. According to the National Academy of Science, more than 90 percent of land used for coffee production in Latin America will be unusable by the end of this century. By 2050, 60 percent of Ethiopia’s coffee production will be gone. Ethiopia is currently the sixth largest coffee producer in the world.
Digital transformation provides a solution
Faced with increasing demand and diminishing arable land, coffee growers must innovate to produce more coffee using less – less arable land, decreasing rainfall and available water, and fewer resources. Adopting innovative technology and advanced analytics – embracing digital transformation – can significantly improve efficiency while conserving resources.
Real-time data captured by drones and IoT sensors provides current information about soil conditions, disease, pests, and drought. Using advanced analytics, this data can be combined with historical information and weather forecasts to provide deep insight into areas of concern so coffee growers can address issues before they become problems.
Coffee Board of India embraces Eka’s Digital Platform for Agriculture
The Coffee Board of India recently adopted a digital transformation program using Eka’s Digital Platform for Agriculture. Eka’s Digital Platform for Agriculture aggregates data from different sources – disease occurrence history, production data, IoT sensors, external weather feeds, drones, etc. – and applies machine learning algorithms to interpret it. Using Eka’s advanced analytics, Coffee Board members can create targeted programs for irrigation, fertilization, and pesticide application – addressing crops at risk quickly and efficiently.
The Coffee Board is employing three of Eka’s Digital Agriculture apps, Hyperlocal Weather Forecast, Disease Identification, and Disease Prevention.
- Eka’s Hyperlocal Weather Forecast app provides an early warning weather system for the coffee farmers, enabling them to better prepare for drought or flood conditions. The system predicts weather for the next 15 days, updating forecasts daily to provide the most accurate prediction of rainfall and enable farmers to proactively manage irrigation systems. Farmers can set up the system to receive alerts based on specific thresholds of rainfall, and can plan planting and fertilizer applications using the weather app.
- Eka’s Disease Identification app uses machine learning algorithms to help coffee farmers evaluate crops for pests and disease. Famers simply take a photo of a crop and Eka’s app evaluates the image to identify evidence of disease or pests. Farmers know in seconds what pest or disease is present and they can quickly respond to eliminate the problem, reducing crop loss.
- The Disease Prediction app employs machine learning algorithms to analyze weather data and historical disease occurrence to predict the likelihood of a disease outbreak for a specific crop. The app determines which areas are more susceptible to disease in the upcoming harvest season, what kind of weather favors the outbreak of specific diseases, which pest management programs should be purchased, and what the annual disease management calendar should be. Farmers can prioritize areas and take preventative measures to eliminate disease and pests.
Using Eka’s apps, Coffee Board members gain a real-time, accurate prediction of weather, disease, and pest occurrence so they can proactively address threats. They target specific problem areas quickly and efficiently, optimizing resource usage through a focused approach, improving crop yield, minimizing consumption of resources, and increasing profits.
As the amount of arable land continues to decline, farmers must find innovative ways to increase efficiency. Eka’s Digital Platform for Agriculture helps farmers get more from less, reducing the impact of climate change, pests, and disease.