Since February, Elastacloud have been involved with the EcoProMIS (Ecological Productivity Management Information System) Project.
Rothamsted Research is a world-leading, non-profit research centre that focuses on strategic agricultural science to the benefit of farmers and society worldwide. Agricompas Limited is an agricultural data analytics company that provides knowledge and decision support to improve the technical, environmental and economical efficiency of crop value chain processes worldwide. Elastacloud and other project partners (Pixalytics in the UK, as well as CIAT, Cenipalma, Fedearroz and Solidaridad in Colombia) are all working in collaboration on the project.
This 38-month project is supported by a grant of £3.9M from the UK Space Agency’s second call of its International Partnership Programme. The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme IPP is a £152 million pound multi-year programme funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) launched in 2015. It uses UK organisations’ space knowledge, expertise and capability to provide a sustainable, economic or societal benefit to undeveloped nations and developing economies.
The main goal of the project is “to improve the rice and oil palm production systems in Colombia by creating and providing better knowledge and decision support services to its stakeholders.” The Government Case Study on the project says:
Colombian smallholder rice and oil palm farmers need to improve productivity and stabilise incomes to allow them to compete globally and improve their livelihoods, whilst responding to climate change and realising a positive environmental impact. The project will engage with smallholder farmers through outreach programmes to collect data and provide training, so that their skills and understanding on how crop management affects productivity, income and sustainable ecosystems is developed. Smartphones are used to communicate data and knowledge directly from and to farmers in the field.
The final product will be a decision support system-based tool. This tool will combine crop production knowledge per field with economic, environmental and social information to help growers in their daily decisions about crop management.
To do that, an enormous volume of data needs to be processed from several different sources and brought together into a secure and user-oriented platform. The main data to be collected for the decision support system principally comes from weather stations, drones, flux towers, agronomic records, yield maps, and other agronomic systems and data sources.
All this data has complex and varied source content and format structures, so the challenge is to bring it all together in the same system to allow us to work with and manage the data flow, for real time data acquisition from different sources. We then select the variety of crop models to be executed automatically in the Microsoft Azure Cloud.
Elastacloud’s contribution to this project will help to ensure that small independent growers stay in their localities, can grow and scale up their business models and are able to produce sustainable crops for the market. It’s a model that can be translated to other small independent growers and sectors across the agricultural landscape. By promoting the role and value of small growers in the sector we ensure diversity in the agricultural landscape for consumers and the industry. The project also adds to environmental sustainability, development of local ecosystems and sustained employability amongst local communities.
Elastacloud are very excited by our continuing involvement with the EcoProMIS project and cannot wait to share further developments on our contributions in the future.
Words: Sebastián Márquez Barraso, Manuel Martín-González, and Annajoy David.