What does insuring rural farmers have to do with ICTs or climate change?

Posted on October 27, 2011  /  0 Comments

Our agri value chain work starts from the agriculture side and hopes to end up with solutions that include ICTs is some form. This is not that easy. This fascinating article about how venture capital is focusing on ICT applications gives some excellent ideas.

His firm has invested in RelayRides and other start-ups that stretch the definition of clean tech investing. They include the Climate Corporation, for extreme weather insurance; Clean Power Finance, which runs an online marketplace for financing residential solar panels; and Transphorm, which makes tools that reduce power loss when electricity is converted in data centers or industrial motors.

“It’s tech companies that are applying their technology to this industry,” Mr. Maris said. “Those are the kinds of companies we tend to really understand and like.”

At first glance, companies like the Climate Corporation, which insures rural farmers, seem to have nothing to do with either technology or climate change. But David Friedberg, a Google veteran who is the company’s co-founder and chief executive, said its goal was “to help all the world’s business adapt to and understand climate change.”

For farmers, that means analyzing “crazy big data,” Mr. Friedberg said, from weather stations, government data feeds, soil moisture models and Doppler radar images. The Climate Corporation simulates the weather for the next two years and runs a Web site where farmers can enter their location and crop, buy insurance coverage and automatically receive payments for bad weather.

Soybean farmers in the Dakotas were recently paid for delayed planting because of an unusually rainy spring, and wheat farmers in Oklahoma and Texas were covered for a intense drought.

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