By Heather Cameron
Westwind Weekly News
During Farming Smarter’s Virtual Global Crop Production Conference last month, Badruun Chadraabal, an agronomist from Mongolia, spoke about the Smart Agricultural Initiative.
“We worked on this project for the past two years at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture Mongolia, and it was also funded by the World Bank,” said Chadraabal. “It’s an agricultural platform to connect all the governmental data and use satellite information and provide them to farmers in areas.”
In the project, Chadraabal said, they utilize the current existing databases of the Mongolian government. The platform is also connected to collect environment analysis data, meaning weather data, Chadraabal said. The platform can also support sensors, third-party sensors and National Statistics Commission data.
Chadraabal then showed visuals on the type of information the project can get from certain data.
“That information,” Chadraabal said, “includes information on soil, grasslands, pastures, and water.”
“Since we got our request from the Ministry of Agriculture, we were able to access a lot of the databases that are available to government entities,” said Chadraabal.
Chadraabal said that as soon as people enter the platform, they can get their weather data, all the locations of arable land in each region, and also information on what is planted which year. They also enter some of their information including fertilizer, herbicides, insecticide, and fungicides that have been used.
“Through this, we can collect data of how much precipitation events happen and try to give water at the right time,” said Chadraabal. “And this helps us manage our irrigation systems much better. We can use our platform for irrigation and water management systems.”
Currently, Chadraabal says that the system just encompasses too large of an area to be reliably used and there are further plans to make the data points as small as possible. The project has only completed the first stage and right now they’re able to access government databases and have some real time indexes available to farmers, but there’s still a lot of potential future functionalities that they are planning to add.
“I understand that satellite images won’t solve climate change security or sustainability problems, but it’s a good tool to use,” said Chadraabal. “With climate change, risk for farmers has become more (pronounced). Utilizing these tools will help you risk manage and make smarter decisions in your everyday practices, help better education management, and utilizing satellites also mitigates risk. Currently, our reproduction has increased steadily, and I think providing us with scouting tools, better utilizing our land and also helping give awareness to our ecosystem can also provide very good awareness to the public of sustainable practices in our raising animals and possibly connecting the government to incentivize orders for better sustainable practices.”