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Exclusive: Microsoft Registers Blockchain and AI Platform for Agriculture in Brazil

Microsoft’s technology, known as FarmBeats, uses blockchain, drones and AI to improve productivity and reduce water consumption on farms.

Microsoft has registered a suite of applications in Brazil that are designed to improve efficiency in the agriculture sector, according to an exclusive report by Cointelegraph Brazil on June 6.

The technology, known as FarmBeats, uses blockchain, drones, IoTartificial intelligence and big data to improve productivity. It has already been rolled out on farms in the United StatesIndiaNew Zealand and Kenya, achieving a 30% reduction in water consumption.

Ranveer Chandra, the scientist who created FarmBeats, recently said that the agriculture sector had been left behind by the benefits big data, AI and blockchain can bring — even claiming that hunting had seen more digital transformation despite being a smaller industry. He told business and economy magazine Epoca Negocios:

“Brazil is one of the first countries that comes to mind when we think of agriculture. We developed FarmBeats so that its technology could be applied here and in other developing countries.”

The technology is regarded as crucial as farmers struggle to make a living while competing with a changing climate and growing demand for produce, Epoca Negocios writes. Chandra explains that production needs to increase by 70% in the next 30 years if global food requirements are going to be met.

The scientist has called on Brazil’s government to embrace the technology and subsidize it in a similar way to farming equipment and fertilizer. Besides helping farmers use resources more effectively, FarmBeats claims it can enhance accuracy and yield by delivering vital statistics about the temperature, moisture and nutrients in the soil.

Microsoft has made several forays into the blockchain world of late. Last month, the United States giant released the new Azure Blockchain Development Kit for the Ethereum blockchain — aiding developers who are building apps on the network.

Also in May, the company announced it was building a decentralized identity network using the Bitcoin network known as the Identity Overlay Network (ION.)

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Moscow's Government to Use Ethereum to Promote Transparency In Commerce

Moscow’s government is planning to use ethereum as part of a system for allotting trading spots during weekend farmers markets.

The system will record applications submitted by farmers, who compete for a limited number of commercial plots. Some 15,000 trading spots are up for grabs, with the market season stretching between April 20 and November 25 and farmers coming in from Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

As might be expected, there’s a push to get a spot, with some 20,000 applicants submitting their bids each year. The idea is to use ethereum as a way to create an immutable record of applications, with updates made for those who are either approved or denied access, according to Andrey Borodyonkov, who serves as the blockchain product manager for Moscow City Hall.

“Blockchain is an additional guarantee that the incoming applications remain immutable as well as makes the audit of the application history possible,” he explained to CoinDesk.

Moscow’s government detailed in a statement:

“The entire dataset is publicly viewable, transparent and available for download. In that case, submission time can be confirmed, while the application cannot be deleted or altered by someone once it is submitted.”

Part of the problem is that many of the farmers are unhappy with the current system for reviewing applications.

Andrey Belozerov, the strategy and innovations advisor to Moscow City Hall’s CIO, expressed hope that the new system will help alleviate some of the concerns by making that information more publicly accessible.

“We believe that farmers should have a transparent system to see why their application is declined or approved,” he said in the press release. “Blockchain is to make sure that the process is fully transparent and no one can alter an application. We hope that blockchain will provide full transparency for everyone.”

The Moscow City Hall started hiring developers capable of working with blockchain back in 2016, Andrei Borodyonkov told CoinDesk, and in 2018 that staff officially formed a new division named “Product Blockchain.”

Moscow image via Shutterstock

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