How digital innovations enable food security

Digital innovations enable food security

According to the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, food security is when every person, at all times, has social, physical, and economic access to nutritious, safe and sufficient food. The food must meet their dietary needs and food preferences required for a healthy and active life. Some of the examples include community kitchens, community gardens, food co-ops, farmers’ markets, food buying clubs, etc.

Food security is necessary to live a healthy life. Nutritious food is known to be fundamental to human existence. Secure access to food contributes to numerous factors, including job creation, economic growth, poverty reduction, etc. The threat to food security often leads to global hunger. Over the past few years, the number of people without enough to eat increased to 815 million, up from 777 million the year before. There are various reasons for this increase. Solutions to resolve the threat to food security are available and are also being implemented to some extent. But how can digital innovations be used to enable food security?

There are numerous places where digital technologies have been used to promote food security.

Digital technology enables farmers and other people to connect with institutions and information that eventually help in decreasing risk and uncertainty. With access to markets, data, and financial services with the help of specific digital technologies, the efficiency of fertilizing, planting, harvesting, and selling products increases. At present, most of the hunger-alleviation strategies do not prominently feature such types of technologies. However, the ratio is gradually increasing with an increase in the number of people showing their interest in emerging economies. If we throw light upon these technologies, we will get to know that these technologies fall under the category of SaaS (software as a service) model. SaaS is already being used in many parts of the world, and at present, it is helping in promoting food security. Let us have a look at what SaaS is and how it enables food security.

What is SaaS?

SaaS (also known as Software-as-a-Service) is one of the three components of cloud computing. It is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts the applications, and the end-users can access the software through the internet. Let us understand this with the help of an example. If we go to a restaurant to eat, we order our food, and they pay for the ready-made food. However, we do not pay for the food cost, rent of the restaurant or space, service, cleaning, and cooking. The restaurant itself handles all of these factors. SaaS is an identical thing that offers similar ready-to-use solutions for particular business needs.

How SaaS helps in enabling food security

The term food security revolves around the terms of access to food, availability of food, and climate-smart farming. With SaaS technology and solutions related to them, all these factors can be resolved. SaaS could help us to improve food security by design. The primary step that must be taken as soon as possible could be the prevention of wastage of resources (resources such as fertilizer, water, and pesticide) during the crop cycle to make sure that the environment that supports food production does not get depleted.

SaaS

SaaS technology also includes the prominent use of data-driven decision making. This helps in a lot of factors, including supply chain management, precision farming, warehouse management and climate-smart agriculture. All of these factors contribute to increasing food security by decreasing damages during production and post-harvest stages. Smart farming enabled through SaaS is a resource-efficient method which can deliver sustainability and higher productivity in agricultural production. Ground truth data that is processed through advanced machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms are combined with satellite data to achieve the above features.

What are the benefits of SaaS technology in food security?

● Multi-Tenancy Architecture

This means that a single instance of the software can serve multiple customers. Thus, each application and user share a joint code base and infrastructure that is centrally maintained.

Moreover, the upfront cost is also reduced due to the multi-tenancy feature of SaaS because of low maintenance costs and shared infrastructure.

● Scalability

If you are a businessman, you will always look for a scalable option. With SaaS applications, you will get an opportunity to choose your model, which easily fulfills the requirement of the infrastructure. Moreover, the infrastructure can be downscaled or upscaled whenever required.

● Seamless Integration

With SaaS, all the necessary and required applications can be integrated easily with each other. This will help in extending functionalities and maximizing the revenue.

● Cost Saving

“Lower overall costs” is known to be the second most significant driver of SaaS adoption. SaaS does not charge any up-front license fees, and it is more often subscription-based. The cost depends upon your use. If you are using more services and components, the price will increase. If you are using fewer services, the cost will decrease.

How food safety helps in promoting food security

The concept of food security and food safety are mutually connected. Both of the above terms have a significant impact on the life of a human being. Food security cannot be expected if there is no food safety.

Rather than dealing with the quantity of food, food safety deals with the quality of the food.

If a person has a lot of food, but it is not edible, or maybe it is of bad quality, then there is no food safety (as the quality of the food is not acceptable). And if there is no food safety, there is no food security. Hence, food safety is a necessary condition for food security.

SourceTrace has been working across developing countries in Asia and Africa to increase adoption of sustainable practices, decrease food losses and for equitable distribution of profits. Write to us at marketing@sourcetrace.com to know more about our solutions and how they can help you. 

About SourceTrace

SourceTrace is a SaaS (Software As A Service) company that focuses on sustainable agriculture and empowerment of farmers.

SourceTrace's advanced technology platform DATAGREEN provides comprehensive solutions to manage all aspects of the agricultural value chain.

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