Microsoft is working alongside agricultural digital marketplace provider Croper and Managro, a conglomerate that invests in Latin America’s agricultural sector, to improve opportunities for Colombian farmers by providing access to affordable internet and devices through its Airband initiative.
Microsoft’s Airband programme has already connected some of the most remote rural areas to the internet and plans to continue increasing global digital skills.
“We have brought high-speed internet to 190 schools, 40 community centres and 180,000 individuals in remote areas of the country,” said Germán Otálora, director of Microsoft’s Airband programme for Latin America. “We accompany this connectivity with educational and health programmes that improve the well-being of communities. We’ve also helped to provide productive programmes that connect and strengthen the coffee and cocoa production chains.”
According to Microsoft, this new level of connectivity will allow farmers to develop new business models, production chains and electronic commerce, which will result in better produce and farming profits. It will also help them use data to increase their yield and prepare for natural disasters. Building on the initiative, Microsoft will provide specially designed farming technology once it has established good connectivity.
“With the connections generated by Croper, an agricultural producer can improve their productivity by 30 per cent and reduce their costs by up to 50 per cent, making their activity more profitable,” said Ricardo Jaramillo Gaviria, co-founder and executive director of Croper. “If we add to this the internet connectivity that Microsoft and Managro are doing, we will [improve producers’] chances of progress.”
Agricultural companies such as Sosty and Wiga are already benefitting from digital platforms developed in Microsoft Azure to promote sustainable livestock, increase crop productivity and minimise the impacts of climate variations and water waste.
“Technology in the field allows us to produce more with less and in a more sustainable way, and together with Croper and Managro we want to contribute to the Colombian countryside being a key player in the sustainable development and well-being of the country, democratising the use of technology so that the field flourishes,” said said Herbert Lewy, general manager of smart agriculture and bioeconomy for Microsoft Latin America.