Indonesian Farmers Go Digital

Image Credit iStockphoto: Chaiyaporn1144

Indonesian farmers will be able to harness the power of data to improve their farming practices under a deal signed by the national government and Microsoft.

Indonesia's Ministry of Agriculture has signed an MoU with Microsoft to strengthen the country's data-driven agriculture ecosystem and thereby empower the country's smallholder farmers with tech-focused solutions.

"We must invest in our farmers to ensure national food security," says Syahrul Yasin Limpo, the agriculture minister for the Republic of Indonesia, “as well as helping them to increase their incomes.

And to help farmers achieve this, "a data-driven agriculture eco-system supported by advanced technology platforms" is needed.

Microsoft technology, such as cloud-based technologies, machine learning, and advanced analytics will be utilized to improve information distribution towards greater efficiencies and productivity across the entire supply chain.

These technologies "will be the foundation of our ecosystem that includes other partners, startups and NGOs", according to Limpo, and will "help us transform the lives of Indonesian farmers from Sabang to Merauke".

The digital infrastructure will provide a collaborative platform and capture agriculture datasets such as crop yields, weather data, market demand, and prices, to building machine learning models. 

"I believe the intelligent technologies and experiences that we all share will support the adoption of digital transformation in the agriculture community in Indonesia," says Haris Izmee, president director for Microsoft Indonesia.

The plan will work to assist farmers to transform digitally with collaborative education programs from Microsoft and the Ministry of Agriculture.

This includes a skilling portal for farming communities to access the latest knowledge and information throughout the archipelago.

The ecosystem will be developed on FarmBeats, a purpose-built, industry-specific cloud platform built on top of Microsoft Azure to enable actionable insights from data.

Azure FarmBeats will aggregate agricultural data from different sources, fuse different agricultural datasets from sensors, drones, and satellites, rapidly develop artificial intelligence and machine learning models, and build tailored digital agriculture solutions.

Microsoft's cloud-scale infrastructure, machine learning, and analytics will analyze millions of records and data points to provide a knowledge graph of related information for better decisions, including establishing fair market prices, identifying bottlenecks, and creating accurate crop planting schedules.

Image Credit: iStockphoto/Chaiyaporn1144