Certain products are becoming increasingly hard to come by in United Kingdom’s supermarkets. According to the Farmer’s Union, the UK has now hit a tipping point and needs to “take command of the food produced” amid worldwide volatility caused by the war in Europe and a changing climate.

To help tackle these challenges, Norway’s crop nutrition company Yara, and Syngenta Group, a world-leading agriculture innovation company, have entered into a partnership with a new ag-tech start-up founded by Varda. The two companies want to accelerate the adoption of Global Field ID, a new technology standard that helps facilitate field data discovery and data sharing in the agriculture and food industry.

Varda digitally maps agricultural land and assigns unique IDs to land plots, creating a ‘QR code for fields’, delivered to users via an API. The aim of the service is to create a ‘common geospatial language’ for the whole industry.

The companies recognize that having a unique ID for every field is a necessary step to effectively collaborate toward a more sustainable, resilient and transparent food system.

“As an industry leader in innovation and cutting-edge technology, our ambition is to use digital technology to help growers maximize yield, while taking care of the planet through sustainable farming practices,” said Feroz Sheikh, Syngenta Group’s chief information and digital officer. “

Currently, farmers and agribusinesses use different formats to identify fields across their digital farming tools, which hinders interoperability and collaboration across the industry.

For farmers, Global Field ID means improved connectivity between their digital farming tools and more efficient communication with stakeholders beyond the ‘farmgate’.

We believe that Global Field ID is an indispensable step to break ‘data siloes’ and make information sharing simpler, reducing time spent on information aggregation, accelerating the spread of precision agriculture and the mobilization of climate finance that are necessary to drive efficiency, while preserving soils long term health,” said Davide Ceper, Varda’s CEO. 

How does Global Field ID work?

The system will be used as an additional data layer within the companies’ own digital farming tools, building a shared reference framework to annotate field-level data, which is expected to generate multiple benefits:

Enabling interoperability: a common identification system allows fields to be more easily paired by users and (digital) farming tools, resulting in increased connectivity and simpler data integration. This will also provide a benefit for farmers, offering improved data insights and cross-supply chain connectivity.

Increasing transparency around regenerative agriculture: widespread adoption of a unique Global Field ID can significantly reduce risks of double-counting of land-based carbon sequestration or biodiversity improvement claims, enhancing the credibility and trust in land-focused climate finance and supporting existing verification protocols.

Enhancing traceability: assigning a shared identifier to each field will make it simpler to establish an uninterrupted chain between agricultural input, field practices and crop supply chains.

Sheikh invites other industry players to join the collaboration, saying, “Working together with Yara and through Varda’s Global Field ID system we strive to improve connectivity between digital farming tools, making it more open, faster, and more efficient with the data owner’s consent. We invite other industry players to join this collaboration to improve the interoperability of systems to the benefit of farmers and the entire innovation ecosystem.” 

The service is currently available in France and the UK and will be progressively released in Brazil, the US and key European agricultural markets in 2023, with plans for further expansion in coverage and features going forward.

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