Within the next few years, the world is sure to welcome a smarter, safer, simpler, and efficient food supply chain. Here's how!
FREMONT, CA: Within a few years, the earth's population will cross eight billion marks for the first time. The sophisticated food supply chain is already stressed by climate change and water scarcity. To cope with the demands of the rising population, address the needs of the modern customers and suppliers, IBM researchers are coming up with new technologies and devices, giving food supply chain, an all-new makeover by rethinking food safety and security. Here is more on the latest initiatives IBM scientists are assembling.
• Virtual Farming Models
Sources predict that by the end of this century, the earth's population will increase by 45 percent, and farmable lands will decrease by 20 percent. The farmable area available may not be used efficiently, and there will be post-harvest losses due to poor farming practices. This reveals that current farming models need to be improved to keep pace with the increasing food demand. IBM imagines a planet where instant access to critical data on farmland could be provided to anyone who needs it. Soon this will become a reality with IBM proposing a digital twin, where the world's agricultural resources are readily available. Creating a digital twin of the world's farm data can allow farmers to share insights, research, materials, communicate data on farmland and crop growth with the food supply chain. With the digital twin of farms and agricultural activity, participants at every level of the food chain can have access to more information and resources, resulting in a more equitable farming economy, meaning that more food at a lower cost.
The IBM PAIRS Geoscope is specifically designed to collect massive geospatial-temporal data from maps, satellites, weather, drones, Internet of Things (IoT)and many other devices. It allows agrarians to research monitor and analyze various factors influencing farming around the world. IBM scientists in Kenya are developing technology that would enable sensors to provide supply and demand patterns based on groundwater extraction data. IBM is also teaming up with AgTech startups to build a digital wallet that allows farming and all related data to be captured, tracked, and shared instantly across people involved in the agriculture value chain including financial firms to help farmers gain access to credit.
IBM is making efforts to eliminate many of the costly unknowns in the food supply chain. From farmers to suppliers, each participant in the ecosystem will know precisely how much to plant, order, and ship. Food loss will reduce significantly when blockchain technology, internet of things devices, and AI algorithms join forces. A blockchain-enabled food supply chain enhanced by IoT devices and AI computing move to zero waste food consumption.
IBM Food Trust is a secure digital ledger that harness blockchain technology to relate to every member of the food supply chain via accurate shared information. IBM researchers are putting their efforts to take blockchain to the next level by coupling it with IoT sensors and AI algorithm, which will make seed-to-plate food tracking more accurate and reliable. The blockchain and IBM Food Trust will bring greater precision by minimizing the guesswork involved in farming. With these tools, the world can look forward to a future when nothing goes to waste.
• Radical Recycling
Plastic waste is plaguing the planet. A research says that by 2050, the amount of plastic in the ocean can take over fish. Plastic recycling advancement is the solution suggested by IBM, enabling plastic bottles, containers, and fabrics collected, grouped up, and combined with a chemical catalyst in a pressure cooker. With the heat and a small amount of pressure, the catalyst can digest the plastic. This process will separate contaminants from usable. In the next few years, plastic recycling advancements could be adopted around the globe to combat global plastic waste.
IBM researchers have developed a catalytic chemical procedure that digests specific plastics into a substance which can become the input for the plastic manufacturing machines to make new products out of it. With this technology onboard, people buying a plastic bottle or container will know that the plastic they have purchased would not end up in the ocean, but will be repurposed and put back on the shelf.
IBM scientists across the world are already working to come up with technology solutions at every stage of the food supply chain. Their efforts are helping agrarians maximize crop yields and develop ways to curb the wastage that destroys a large amount of food supply. These three initiatives paint a pretty positive picture of the world's food supply chain. It'll be exciting to watch these initiatives turning to an interesting reality.