This month’s “Landbouwborrel” (Agriculture Drinks) in Brussels focused on the use of ICT in agriculture. Invited to speak were Ad Bastiaansen, founder of Waterwatch Cooperative and cofounder of Teleatlas, and Erik Jan van Vuuren, Azure lead at Microsoft.
The Landbouwborrel is a monthly event in Brussels, organized by European Parliamentarian Jan Huitema, to bring together European Parliamentarians, farmers and other stakeholders in agriculture.
In his presentation, Bastiaansen paints a picture on how ICT has changed the world in the last two decades. Twenty years ago people used land maps to find their way, now almost everyone owns a navigation system. The coming 20 years again much will change, also in the field of agriculture. More digital information will be made accessible to farmers worldwide in order to increase land and water productivity. Farmers are already using weather information frequently; Waterwatch Cooperative will add satellite data and combine this in the Global Vegetation Database. The Database will be updated weekly and provide information on the status of crops in the field, such as water use, biomass and the risk of plant diseases. Farmers will be able to access the information easily through apps on mobile phones or tablets. The transition to using more and more IT in agriculture will be made as easy as possible.
Van Vuuren continues his presentation on IT developments. Software will be available that can detect what you are looking at just by making a picture. Imagine walking through a field and photographing a certain type of crop. The software could tell you what kind it is plus much more information on how to grow and harvest it.
Huitema closes the presentation by asking in what ways Bastiaansen thinks the European Parliament can give their support. Bastiaansen replies that the Parliament should listen carefully to private initiatives in this sector that ask for support, there are many good innovative ideas!