Transforming food production and supply with OR/Analytics
The world food supply is insufficient to feed millions of people and the current COVID-19 pandemic is making matters worse by disrupting food supply chains, crippling economies and eroding consumer purchasing power. Paradoxically, this is happening at a time of enormous global food surpluses. The growing use of data collected via sensors, drones, satellites, mobile phones and other novel technologies, enables farms and farmers to produce more for less – less fertilizer, less water and less land. The revolution is happening in both developed and developing countries, but there’s a big gap between the two worlds.
In this article the contributions of several organisations which focus on these problems are first described, together with some of the rapidly increasing research studies and applications from the OR/Analytics community. These involve the use of agricultural data bases and modern analytics and OR techniques to transform the efficiency of food production and supply globally, but particularly in the developing world. Then we describe in detail a recent award-winning project in Mexico.
Jimenez, Daniel; Ramirez, Julian; Gardeazabal, Andrea; Lougee, Robin.