Thursday, October 3, 2013

Big Data meets big Agribusiness: Monsanto acquires Climate Corporation

Business of Agriculture continues to be dynamic as always; the challenge of feeding a growing world population, coupled with managing global supply chain, geopolitics and of course trying to cope with the biggest challenge of them all: Mother Nature's upper hand. 

Just following Mother Nature’s mood swings requires enormous data crunching, analytics, use of communication networks, satellites, drones and newer tools and technologies. And here I am just talking of Information Technology and not the product “Technology” that enables the agribusiness industry (pesticides, herbicides, genetic seeds, traits etc etc).  
I came across an announcement yesterday by Monsanto that it was acquiring a big-data technology firm, Climate Corporation, for approximately $1.1 billion (link). I think it is a fascinating opportunity if done right, and if taken to farmers around the globe. Of course, Monsanto is not alone in the quest to integrate lego blocks of agribiz puzzle together; Another large agbiz firm, Syngenta* recently announced “The Good Growth Plan

The reality is that most small hold farmers, especially those in developing nations have very little access to tools and technologies that enable “modern agriculture” practices. There again, lack of modern technology may be an opportunity in disguise. Case in point, the wireless telecommunication revolution in India that helped the country beleaguered by lack of traditional telephone lines leapfrog directly to modern cellphone age.  Wonder if access to insights enabled by digital farming technology and tools - big-data enabler in the example above – do the same for the small farmer in rural India, or sub-Saharan Africa?

*Opinions on this blog are mine alone and not that of my employer

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