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Châtenay-Malabry (FR - 92290), March 23, 2020

EFITA newsletter / 922 - European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment

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How we saw the future yesterday?

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RDA/IGAD Webinar Series: The Update of Agricultural Ontologies in Japan set for March 24

24 March
As part of the Research Data Alliance's (RDA)/ Agricultural Data Interest Group's (IGAD) ongoing webinar series, aimed to keep up with cutting edge developments in agricultural data, and encourage the free flow of ideas, the next webinar is set to take place on March 24 at 10 a.m. CET.

Good old days (?????): The haymakers by Emile Claus

EIP-AGRI workshop ‘Towards carbon neutral agriculture’

17 - 18 June, 2020 - Tallinn, ESTONIA

Agriculture and climate change are closely interlinked. On the one hand, agriculture is one of the main sources of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), two greenhouse gases, but at the same time it holds a great potential to sequester and store carbon in plants, trees and soils. A more carbon neutral agriculture is possible, if proper farm management practices are adopted to optimise the carbon balance in farming systems. These can include for instance practices aiming at reducing livestock CH4 emission, practices that result in a reduced use of farm inputs (e.g. fuels, pesticides, fertilisers) or practices that help keep carbon stored in soils.

The focus of this workshop will be on the transition to carbon neutrality in agriculture, through:

- Soil, crop and livestock management practices that keep and increase carbon in soils.
- Farm management practices, such as mixed farming, agro-forestry, agro-ecology and organic farming that promote the diversification of farming systems and that bring other environmental benefits, such as increased biodiversity, both in the short and long term.
- Livestock production that minimises carbon or methane emissions (e.g. extensive systems, manure management).
- Resource efficiency in agriculture, in particular in relation to the use of fertilisers, plant protection products, energy and other farm inputs (e.g. fuel consumption). Methods and tools to assess carbon emissions and sequestering at farm level.

LinkedIn Group: Agricultural Information Management Standards (AIMS)

The Agricultural Information Management Standards Portal (AIMS) of The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations gathers information on and access to standards, technology and best practices within the food and agricultural industry. It is also a forum connecting information management workers around the world to discuss open access and open data. AIMS represents collaboration and interoperability.

FAO / AIMS Newsletter No. 89 March 2020

Good old days (?????): "La vache blanche", par Julien Dupré, vers 1890

Digitalisation of Agriculture in Africa

A sustainable increase in the production of healthy foods will be impossible without the transformation of smallholder farms into profitable businesses. Digitalisation of agriculture has the potential to revolutionise smallholder farming in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), significantly improving productivity and profitability.

CTA is a leader in the use of ICTs for agriculture and is at the forefront of the move towards precision agriculture for smallholder farming. We focus on increasing profitability and productivity by leveraging digital solutions and strengthening business innovations. As part of this drive we will promote precision agriculture solutions, including data gathering by satellites and drones, weather information and soil sensors as well as other data driven farming practices. CTA also supports access to new services for farmers in the areas of finance and insurance.

Ensuring data sovereignty ‘major challenge’ for European farmers By Natasha Foote /

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How Indian agritech can help address climate risks

1) Building climate-predictive data-driven models

Indian agritech startups like SatSure, CropIn, Farmguide, Skymet have developed (top-down) models for large tracts of farmland using satellite imagery and weather stations, whereas startups such as BharatAgri, Fasal, Krishitantra, Cultyvate, Senseitout, AgSmartic have gone granular — bottoms-up — with the use of sensors, IoT, and smartphones with the objective of delivering real-time and accurate farm advice on the use of water, fertilisers, crop health, and preventive measures. The convergence of these two types of data models and approaches will further drive the accuracy and timeliness of climate risk predictions for the benefit of farmers and other value chain players.

2) Solutions for resource conservation

Some of the Indian agritech examples are as follows:

- BoreCharger– a low-cost model for borewell recharge to improve yield from deeper aquifers
- Distinct Horizon – a deep placement Urea machine that can reduce urea consumption by 40% as well as GHG emissions with 10 to 60% increase in yield (in the case of paddy rice)
- aQysta – which has developed the “Barsha pump” to use energy from rivers and canals to pump water with zero fuel and electricity use
- EF Polymer – has developed a polymer from bio-waste extracts for higher water retention in the root zone of crops
- Barrix– has developed eco-friendly crop protection methods using pheromones

3) Innovations to reduce carbon footprint

The majority of Indian agritech innovations that we have seen in the recent past in some way have contributed to reducing carbon footprints. For example, farm-to-fork startups (such as Ninjacart, DeHaat, SuperZop, ShopKirana, Kamatan, WayCool) have brought energy efficiency through demand aggregation, scientific storage and route optimization in the supply chain.

Post-harvest interventions through dehydration, cold chain, logistics solutions, and farm-level processing — such as S4S Technologies, Ourfood, Ecozen, Tessol, Promethean, Inficold, Agrigator, Tan90  etc. — have also significantly reduced the use of energy and fossil fuels.

Old good days (????) : The Recall of the Gleaners by Jules Breton, study, 1859

John Deere: ‘We believe in electric tractors. 100%’

If it was up to the engineers at John Deere, electricity will become the power source of the future. For more efficiency, better traction, lower costs and lower ground pressure. An interview with three experts.

Sencrop acquires Visio-Green

Visio-Green’s 1,800 weather stations will be assimilated into the Sencrop network of weather stations.

AI chip lets drone automatically avoid obstacles

An AI chip mimics the optical nerves of the fruit fly, allowing drones to automatically avoid obstacles.

Cover crops to boost soil microbial abundance by 27%

A new global analysis from the University of Illinois shows cover crops can boost soil microbial abundance by 27%.

Netafim integrates FluroSat remote sensing technology

FluroSat’s data is integrated into Netafim’s automated irrigation and fertigation cloud-based platform, NetBeat.

Valley Irrigation launches crop management platform

With Valley 365 growers can manage, control and share data analytics between connected devices on the farm.

Drone spraying

Drone spraying takes off as regulations relax worldwide
Popularity of drones is set to soar globally as countries grant operators permission to also apply crop protection products. Why is drone spraying moving into the mainstream?

COVID-19 by the Numbers, by Anatole Kaletsky

Callous as it may sound, the economic and political impact of the coronavirus pandemic will ultimately be determined by the epidemiological and clinical data. Fortunately, in this case, the relevant statistical trends are developing in a much less alarming way than panicked media headlines might suggest.
Admittedly, the death toll in poor countries with less efficient health care will probably be much higher. But even if the global death toll were four or five times higher than the experience in advanced Asian countries, say 10% mortality instead of 2-3%, that would mean between 7,500 and 75,000 deaths globally, on top of the 2,800 patients who have already died in Hubei. This would be a human tragedy; but as a statistic with economic or political impact, it would be just an imperceptible blip compared to the 55 million people globally who die under normal health and mortality conditions every year.

Good old days (?????): La moisson par Victor Gabriel Gilbert

Gene-editing regulation not the biggest hurdle for SMEs in EU, says academic, by Natasha Foote (with always the same mix of technical and economical so-called arguments... – GW)

The argument that excessive regulation adversely affects small and medium enterprises (SMEs) does not stand up to scrutiny, according to molecular geneticist Dr Michael Antoniou, head of the gene expression and therapy group at King’s College London.

Interview with Professor Philippe Legrand: “Not all French experts agree on Nutriscore”

The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't-- and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger, by Dan Gardner

From terror attacks to the war on terror, real estate bubbles to the price of oil, sexual predators to poisoned food from China, our list of fears is ever-growing. And yet, we are the safest and healthiest humans in history. Irrational fear seems to be taking over, often with tragic results. For example, in the months after 9/11, when people decided to drive instead of fly—believing they were avoiding risk—road deaths rose by more than 1,500.

In this fascinating, lucid, and thoroughly entertaining examination of how humans process risk, journalist Dan Gardner had the exclusive cooperation of Paul Slovic, the world renowned risk-science pioneer, as he reveals how our hunter gatherer brains struggle to make sense of a world utterly unlike the one that made them. Filled with illuminating real world examples, interviews with experts, and fast-paced, lean storytelling, The Science of Fear shows why it is truer than ever that the worst thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Massive swarms devour crops, while European environmentalists seek to ban insecticides. Green Colonialism in Africa Led to the Locust Plague, by Richard Tren

For millennia, people lived on the edge of starvation. Today, starvation has disappeared outside of war zones. The Battle to Feed Humanity Has Been Won, by Marian L. Tupy

More Bad News from China

If I hear anything else, I’ll let you know



There are two muffins baking in the oven.

One muffin says to the other, “Phew, is it getting hot in here or is it just me?”

The other muffin says, “AAAAHHH!! A TALKING MUFFIN!”

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