Across industries, Big Data has become a key enabler for growth. Myriad forms of data are enabling businesses today with analytics driven insights helping them understand and anticipate customer needs, understand new geographies and new customer segments.
In Agri business too, Big Data can help improve crop yield, drive agility/responsiveness, manage risk and align to demand by answering questions that were practically impossible to address a few years ago. Data such as weather reports, soil conditions, GPS maps, water resources, commodity market conditions, market demand, and raw input costs are increasingly being exchanged from “Farm to Fork” across business processes to produce better outcomes.
The data is largely unstructured or at best semi structured and is being generated at every stage: farming, origination, trading, and distribution to the food processors and retailers. If the intelligence from the data is unlocked rapidly enough, timely decisions can lead to astonishing results: soil samples can let farmers know land area versus yield, efficient use of fertilizers and pesticides can bring down costs, the markets where produce will fetch the best returns are known in advance, and inventory and logistics can be more efficiently managed.
The key is to access the data in real-time for analysis and get it right the first time. However, the reality is that despite the availability of data, the Agri sector does not make liberal use of it. Fortunately, the compulsions are changing and pressures are mounting to minimize cost and grow faster. There is a need to build sustainability into farming practices, boost yield, improve quality, and ensure that when produce leaves the farm it arrives fresh on the consumer’s table. Organizations are looking to simplify their business processes and sophisticated use of dashboards to visualize information.
In today’s world of the health and wellness consumer, where commodity risk management and compliance are critical, Big Data can be unlocked to make accurate, predictive and timely decisions across the Agri value chain.