Big data to impact Emirates’ agriculture industry in big way

Big data Productively evolving the future of agriculture in Emirates (3) copy

Alkesh Sharma / Emirates Business

Imagine a UAE farmer sitting in the cabin of his high-tech tractor and keeping tabs on swathes of fields by the click of the mouse. By monitoring a couple of computer screens, the ‘big data’ helps him figure out the exact locations in the farmlands where his worker had missed a seed, the zones where water can be efficiently used or the spots vulnerable to termite attack.
Although in its fledgling state, ‘big data’ is soon to impact UAE agriculture in a big way and ensure good yields. Experts are suggesting potent solutions to arid soil and lower levels of groundwater to UAE agriculturists, with the help of the ‘big data’.
“Agriculture sector in the UAE is facing stiff challenges in the form of arid landscapes, saline water and acute shortage of fresh water for irrigation. So far, much advancement has been made to overcome these hurdles and intelligent use of big data could be an effective tool to counter them further,” said Mark Stephens, a Botany scientist, who is doing research on the usefulness of big data in MENA agriculture said.
“Many farms in the UAE have started considering the usage of big data. Cues collected from big data are helping to draft an efficient mechanism to manage crops and their water supply,” stated Stephens, who has collected data related to vegetable cultivation in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Stephens said that vegetable yield could be easily increased between 10 to 15 percent in UAE if farmers go by the big data findings.
“We are hoping to reduce the amount of irrigation water by upto 50 percent if we closely monitor the past as well as current trends. This could be done by strategically placing sophisticated sensors in farmlands,” said Singapore-based agriculture
scientist Dr Vinay Sharma.

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