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How the IoT helps in the fight against hunger

According to calculations by the international organisation The Hunger Project , more than 854 million people suffer from hunger in the world, which is just over 10% of the world population. If we add another calculation by which a third of the world’s food would be wasted, the problem becomes even more complex to understand, especially with the technological solutions that we have at our fingertips today. How is it possible that, despite the progress of the last decades, hunger continues to be a problem of pandemic dimensions today? How can the IoT make a decisive contribution to achieving the goal of “zero hunger” set out in the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations organisation?

Some facts about hunger in the world:

  • The number of hungry people has increased in recent years
  • One in nine people do not have a healthy volume of nutrients
  • Two thirds of the famine is suffered by women
  • 80% of the hungry population lives in areas with a high impact of climate change.

Because of this, The Hunger Project decided to mark May 28 as World Hunger Day, a date that every year seeks to place this epidemic at the centre of the most relevant conversations globally. According to the organisation, “Hungry people are not the problem, but are at the heart of a sustainable and permanent solution“. That is why they call hunger “the biggest solvable problem in the world”. The association’s lines of action are focussed on this belief, and the IoT philosophy is also based on this idea when it comes to building realistic technological solutions capable of lasting over time.

How does the IoT help address different challenges related to hunger and food?

Precision Agriculture

Precision agriculture is a set of techniques, generally based on IoT technologies activated by cellular connectivity, designed to seek maximum optimisation of the fields and resources used to obtain food. Its main advantages are summarised in:

  • Increased crop productivity by making data-based decisions
  • Less water consumption and more efficient use of resources such as fertilisers and pesticides
  • Cost reduction thanks to the optimisation of agricultural operations
  • Improvement of environmental sustainability. By consuming fewer resources, gas emissions and pollution in general are reduced.

Here are some common IoT applications in precision agriculture that help improve and optimise food production.

  • Crop monitoring via the deployment of IoT sensors to collect and send real-time data on temperature, humidity, nutrients and other parameters that, thanks to data processing tools, allow optimisation decision making and predictive maintenance of crops, anticipating the appearance of diseases or pests
  • Intelligent irrigation management through humidity sensors to adjust the quantity and times of irrigation according to the needs of the plantations, thus limiting water consumption
  • Drones for land and crop processing, threat detection and automated fumigation tasks
  • Remote tracking and management of agricultural machinery and predictive maintenance scheduling for productivity optimisation.

Some success stories of Wireless Logic in precision agriculture:

John Deere -> Precision-based RTK farming

CLAAS -> Agricultural equipment manufacturing and tracking

Precision Farming

Precision farming has similar objectives to its agricultural counterpart (optimisation of resources, improvement of production and reduction of costs) but with techniques adapted to the meat industry. Here are some of the most common IoT applications, powered by cellular connectivity:

  • Monitoring of animal health through sensors that collect temperature control data and other indicators to anticipate possible diseases and be able to provide the necessary care
  • Automated animal nutrition systems to precisely control livestock feeding and hydration, in order to optimise resources, maximising growth of meat or dairy production
  • Devices to detect stress or injuries in animals to maintain their welfare
  • Control systems and improvement of animal breeding and reproduction processes to guarantee the future.

Food Logistics

One of the focuses to tackle the hunger epidemic lies in the monitoring and traceability of food to guarantee both its condition and the correct distribution to destination points. IoT technologies help food to arrive precisely where it is going to be consumed, significantly reducing the economic and social cost of food waste. Some IoT applications for food logistics include:

  • Intelligent fleet management solutions to optimise delivery routes, improving delivery times and reducing unnecessary kilometers and emissions
  • Control of temperature and humidity through sensors to monitor that the cold chain is not broken and foods such as meat, fruit and vegetables are kept in perfect condition during all steps of the distribution process
  • Automated inventory management systems to adjust supply to demand peaks and locate food as close as possible to the point of consumption, in addition to helping to dispose of those perishables closest to expiration, also reducing waste.

Here is a Wireless Logic success story in precision farming:

v2v Factory -> Real Time Vending to reduce food waste

Still a lot to do for the goal of “zero hunger”

Hunger continues today to be a global epidemic, and much remains to be done. There are many actors that have to intervene to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger, and technological advances will be of no use if they are not oriented in the right direction. Projects like the ones mentioned are not enough by themselves, but they help and set the direction to follow, to help all those regions plagued by hunger.

Having technological tools and resources to optimise the different processes of the food industry, from production to distribution, would be a very important first step for these communities to begin to draw their solutions. And it is that, as The Hunger Project points out, through their hands, and through training programs such as those developed by this organisation, the construction of sustainable and lasting solutions against hunger passes.

To find out how Wireless Logic can help you activate solutions aimed at optimising food production or logistics, contact us .

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