Inspire Challenge

Empowering Data-Driven Farming

Bringing together data streams to have a positive impact on agronomic decision-making

From when to plant to when to harvest, a plethora of decisions go into every successful farming season. What choice to select when making these decisions is often of vital importance, with serious consequences for the farmer and their family. Decisions are often subject to a variety of influences such as historical trends or social norms – not all of which lead to the best outcomes.

From analyzing weather patterns to advise when to plant – to analyzing prices to advise when to harvest, there is enormous potential for data-driven approaches to support farmers and their decision-making process. New sources of information such as satellites, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and mobile weather stations are providing a mountain of data that models can incorporate. Variables related to crops and soils, climates and markets are all becoming easier to analyze as more data points become available. Hyper-localized analysis and recommendations are increasingly facilitated by GPS-enabled phones that provide exact latitude, longitude, and elevation – all with the goal of empowering improved decision making by providing the best information available.

Already those in the network of companies that support smallholder farmers, from crop insurers to agricultural input suppliers, are starting to offer this sort tailored advice and information to their customers in the hopes of supporting their success.  This Inspire project drives towards solutions that help the most vulnerable farmers access the best information to support decision-making. Rather than new use cases, it is especially interested in innovation around methodologies, partnerships and information transfer, which empower the decision-making of smallholder farmers and helps them produce more food more sustainably.

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