Ireland Strives To Lead In Food Tech Future

Ireland’s Ag Minister says the country's opportunity lies not just in the export of food products, but in their information technology expertise in this area too.

Ireland's Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney hosted a meeting last week for food industry specialists at IBM’s Dublin campus that was designed to bring Irish agribusiness together with advanced technology expertise, in order to keep the country's food and beverage industry on the leading edge of technology and make the fast-growing sector more productive, efficient and sustainable.

Ireland’s opportunity lies not just in the export of food products, but in information technology expertise in this area. “As exciting as [the growth in new markets] is the opportunity for Ireland to produce and sell the systems as well as the food,” Coveney said to the Irish Times.

Ireland has already led in some front-running areas of technology, considering Ireland's beef farmers were the first in the world to have in place a national DNA tracing scheme. But big data and analytics are expected to have a significant impact in many other ways on agribusiness worldwide, such as becoming tools that can be used to boost crop yields, according to Susan Davies of IBM Global Services. 

With today's big-data initiative bringing together sensors, data, computer modelling and analytics for applications ranging from fishing and sea farming to energy generation, environmental protection and sustainability. But it is not all about the data. “Data alone is not the solution – you have to couple those with predictive models,” said Sean McKenna, senior manager at IBM Research.

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