Aiding Food Production & Safety

Part 4 of 6

Advance Warnings Of Floods, Drought & Other Elements Of Nature

When looking at the global food situation, both past (for tracking progress,) and present status reports of both availability and competitiveness, we are forced to look into the future trends. We must focus our attention on various factors that have an over-bearing impact on food supply. The changing dynamics can create an irreversible situation when left unattended.

On the contrary, prior notice enables preparedness and helps create a buffer zone to absorb a vast majority of the impending shocks. Instant communication of legislative changes that govern how food is processed, stored and brought to the consumer help agencies plan accordingly. There could possibly be a lot of other details that require attention, depending upon specific geographic locations. Crop diseases and pest infestation in exported/imported seeds, grains, fruits, and greens is one such example.

In my continued study into the impact of ‘IoT’ in relation to ‘Future of Food,’ this article brings us to the amazing gift of ‘empowerment.’ Powered by the ubiquitous Smart Sensors, pre-programmed to collect and transmit specific bolts of information to the Central Processing units or the Command Centers, this technology gives the farmer one of the strongest tools against a sudden attack of natural elements.


Exact weather prediction can make a farm profitable while inaccurate data will leave behind a disaster zone. Farmers around the world have always been at the mercy of this phenomenon. As long as we have wide-open farms, nature will continue to play the game of winners and losers.

The man has never controlled atmospheric conditions. That allows the insurance companies a valid pretext to dismiss claims for compensation. They have their escape built into the ‘Act of God’ clause. Their irresponsibility causes the helpless farmers to absorb the loss, not anymore! So, what has changed?

Both intense heat wave and bitter cold can wreak destruction on a livestock farm, not just on food-grain farming. Too much rain brings in its aftermath many diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and other pests. Bugs, insects, and rodents abound in wet areas that lead to excessive loss of crops year after year and from one region to the other.

Tinder-dry conditions lead to wildfires covering thousands of acres same as the one we encountered in the near past in Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada. Such disasters cause enormous waste of both life and property not to talk of distress requiring rehabilitation exercises in gigantic proportions.

Hundreds of millions of precious dollars in both public and private money just go up in smoke. The Inferno takes a fraction of a moment to start but devours vast tracts that appear in its passage.

Lightning, tornadoes, storms with funnel clouds, high impact winds, and avalanches are elements of nature’s fury. Their unexpected landfall causes inescapable damage year after year in different parts of the world.

‘Internet of Things’ has enabled scientists to set up mobile weather stations. They run on the power of embedded smart sensors. These sensors gather intelligence linked to climate, wind velocity, humidity, and so many other additional aspects.

The data so generated helps decipher necessary fundamental information. Once transferred to the nearest processing station, advance computers record the material into decipherable packets. The finished picture reaches the designated smartphones in Real-time for defensive action before severe calamity strikes.

Heavy snowfall and hailstorm notification in a timely fashion can help save farm machinery, livestock, and additional objects collected in the open. Even greenhouse farming derives great gains from this automation.

Oncoming earthquake and volcano eruption related details are easier to gather through smart sensors. The information about precise trigger points goes to pre-programmed computers. These machines help arrange the same into different sections for urgent remedial action. The resulting sharper image goes to a pre-designated Smart Phone interface. Scientists, welfare agencies, and crisis crews call for preventive safeguards instead of organizing themselves after the incident.

Although ‘Warning System’ in the present circumstances is reasonably good, the manner of producing accurate forecasts is too slow to be of considerable value. A lot of important data gets lost due to unreasonable delays in communication. Lapse of time between receiving parcels of intelligence, bringing it all together and then analyzing the same to form the whole image is slow. Smart sensors can carry out the same within moments, through Real-time communication.

No wonder, we are entering an advanced phase of intelligence-gathering that exploits Big Data in multiple ways. ‘Internet of Things’ helps transmit the actionable data to the relevant channels for prompt action so that the ‘curative’ approach easily turn into a ‘preventive’ one and helps save food against possible loss due to disaster.

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