In the present age, cloud computing is proving to be an indispensable asset in consolidating agriculture-related information such as weather conditions, soil and crop test data, cultivation and production equipment, farming and breeding practices, consumer databases, supply chains, billing systems, and so on.
This plethora of information can be uploaded to the cloud, which provides enough storage, speed, and computing power to analyze the collected data and package it in a form useful to farmers.
Timely processing data allows producers to take action within a growing season and rectify problems before they become detrimental to yield.
The adoption of cloud computing is emerging slower in agriculture than in other industries. However, countries like Japan, China, and USA are leading in this industry.
Even parts of East Africa have been able to tap into this ubiquitous technology, though the practice is still in an infant stage.
The following diagram illustrates the practical applications of cloud computing in the agriculture sector:
Benefits of Cloud Computing in Agriculture
The benefits of cloud computing in agriculture as as follows.
Initial and recurring costs are considerably lower than traditional computing.
The boundless information storage in the cloud infrastructure gives farmers more data to make better decisions.
Minimize infrastructure risk
Cloud security controls can lower the probability that an infrastructure’s vulnerability can be exploited.
Challenges of Cloud Computing in Agriculture
The challenges of cloud computing in agriculture are as follows:
Cloud resources can be accessed quickly in developed countries with abundant Internet bandwidth. However, this is not the case in developing countries where there are serious problems with high-speed internet access and lack of stable electricity.
The fear of losing highly sensitive data to competition is one of the biggest concerns of any company. Accordingly, many small-scale farmers are wary of uploading their confidential information to the cloud because they are afraid that big companies may have access to it.
Data recovery and availability
But utilizing the cloud for the agricultural sector is not without its issues. Cloud solutions offered by large companies usually come at a high cost, which small-scale farmers can’t always afford.
Additionally, these cloud solutions are often developed for large farms equipped with fast internet speed. Most rural farms have slow internet speed and those in remote areas have no connectivity at all.