A pilot project at soy farm in Brazil is using 5G to help farmers monitor their crops and respond quickly to any threats

5G’s potential to revolutionise agriculture, through the use of automation, smart sensors, and more, is certainly enormous, but is often overshadowed by more industrial applications, like smart manufacturing or smart ports.

Nonetheless, important progress is being made in this crucial industry, with 5G still finding opportunities to demonstrate in the immense value it can create.

On Thursday, it was reported that a soy farm in the central Brazilian state of Goias is working with Huawei to deploy numerous 5G-related solutions to improve their farming techniques. The solutions in question include numerous sensors placed in the fields, as well as on harvesters and drones, to provide vital information quickly to farmers. In this way, real-time cloud data processing allows the farmers to respond to diseases and other threats to their crops within an hour, rather than the three days typically required using previous observation methods.

The pilot was launched using Claro’s 5G network, a company with a long history of working with Huawei.

This pilot project comes at a volatile time for Brazil’s 5G, with the country currently mulling excluding the Chinese vendor from their upcoming 5G networks. In October, the US government offered Brazil $1 billion as an incentive for its telecoms industry to exclude Huawei. Indeed, with controversial President Jair Bolsonaro a vocal supporter or President Trump, it has seemed that the US were making significant inroads towards getting Huawei banned from the largest market in South America.

However, the Brazilian telecoms market is heavily reliant on Huawei technology and swaying its operators away from the vendor will be difficult. Around a month ago, the country’s four largest operators – Telefonica Brasil SA, Grupo Oi SA, TIM Participações SA, and Claro – declined to meet with a US representative to discuss Huawei’s removal.

“This invitation is not compatible with free-market choices that we are used to. We should be able to freely make our best financial decisions,” an anonymous source told Reuters.

Earlier this week, it was reported that national regulator Anatel is proposing rules of the upcoming 5G spectrum auction that do not exclude the Chinese vendor.

With Trump soon set to depart, it seems that Brazil may be one market that has successfully resisted  US pressure when it comes to dealing with China.


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