The private sector has decided to overtake one of the main hurdles for agricultural innovation in Brazil - connectivity. 8 companies joined to support farmers in order to cover a further 5 million hectares with 4G connection across the country during 2019.
Brazil has 5.07 million properties in the countryside but just 1.4 million have internet, less than 28%. This has prompted Agco, Climate FieldView, CNH Industrial, Jacto, Nokia, Solinftec, TIM and Trimble to create an initiative called ‘Conectar Agro’. It aims to offer a 700 MHz signal all over the country.
Photo: Tim and Trimble
Costs half a sack of soy per hectare
This initiative was launched in May. TIM, a telephone and mobile internet company that supports the initiative, estimates that the investment to deploy that technology is around “half a sack of soy” per hectare, which is accessible for small, medium and big producers.
"TIM wants to break an old paradigm and show that it is feasible to deliver to the field a robust, open, scalable and global mobile connectivity solution. Thus, we address a latent problem in the agribusiness sector being despite the intense use of technology, it lacks connectivity," announces Rafael Marquez, Marketing Director of the Corporate Segment of TIM Brazil.
Commercialising the connectivity infrastructure
Each company is selling its own products and services independently. In other words, this mobile company is commercialising the connectivity infrastructure, while Agco, Climate FieldView, CNH Industrial, Jacto, Nokia, Solinftec and Trimble their products and services.
If they achieve their goal (5 million hectares), they will cover around 10% of Brazil’s cultivated area. Currently, among connected properties, there is several different technologies which, frequently, are not compatible with each type of equipment.
Photo: Tim and Trimble
In addition, for the IoT for machines, a 4G signal connects people because it allows access to the internet which some types of radio frequencies do not. According to TIM, this technology already covers 700,000 ha in the countryside.
Thus, Conectar Agro is aimed at helping farmers with difficulties; communicating digitally with customers and suppliers, access to new technologies, problems with processing and monitoring field data and waste of time and productivity.
Gateway to the future
Connectivity is pivotal to Agro 4.0 technologies’ adoption. "Conectar Agro will open doors for the development and innovation of Brazilian agribusiness, benefitting other sectors that also lose opportunities due to lack of connectivity. We are a group of companies working for the whole market. Trimble is very pleased to be part of that moment in Brazil," said Guillermo Perez-Iturbe, Commercial Director for Latin America at Trimble's Agriculture division.