Telecoms and Brazilian agribusiness: a growing partnership

Telecoms and Brazilian agribusiness: a growing partnership

Hard on the heels of yesterday’s story about the use of multi-orbit satellite terminals on farm equipment in remote farmland throughout Brazil come no fewer than three news items focusing on how telecoms is boosting agribusiness in that country.

Operator TIM and Trapview, a multinational that specialises in pest control solutions, are to introduce Brazil's first NB-IoT connected trap (a device that collects data about the pest situation everywhere on a territory).

The solution offers digital monitoring for pest prediction with the use of artificial intelligence – and now with the help of 4G and NB-IoT. As well as monitoring pests the solution helps with the reduction of costs, the limitation of the use of chemicals, the optimisation of labour and the traceability of agricultural activities.

TIM has the largest Internet of Things network in Brazil with more than 5,100 cities with NB-IoT technology. It also covers 17 million hectares with 4G.

Brazilian telecommunications company Embratel, meanwhile, has launched Smart Field by Cromai, a start-up focused on AI for agribusiness. Smart Field is an AI solution using deep learning to accurately locate and classify weeds that can put soybean and sugarcane plantations at risk.

From this, producers can make decisions about application of pesticides, generating savings in inputs and financial resources, increasing productivity and reducing the environmental impacts that can be caused by herbicides.

In addition to sugarcane and soybeans, the plan is to expand the use of the solution to other crops.

Finally BP Bunge Bioenergia – a joint venture of the sugar and ethanol operations of energy group BP and global agribusiness and food company Bunge – is investing more than R$100 million (about US$19.3 million) in a digital transformation project that aims to increase the efficiency of its operation including, in partnership with TIM, building 98 4G towers to bring internet access to a rural area of three million hectares.

The project covers 11 units of BP Bunge Bioenergia in five Brazilian states. According to the company, this should positively impact 105,000 people in the 46 municipalities neighbouring the properties of the agribusiness group, including 65 schools, 53 of which are public.

Agribusiness is important for this country – and possibly the world. One estimate is that agribusiness represents 25% of Brazil's GDP and 44% of total exports. And telecommunications technologies are playing a major part in helping agribusiness to become more effective and efficient.