Solidaridad launches innovative expert system to support continual improvement of farmers

After a four year development process which started in Brazil, Solidaridad has launched its much anticipated Rural Horizons, an expert system uniquely designed to support farmers and value-chain partners in the continual improvement of agricultural production. The website and digital platform provides automated solutions to help farmers, farmers associations and supply chain partners to structure the process of continual improvement towards a more sustainable production.

The Rural Horizons system has been developed by Solidaridad with the support from multinational and among others partners, such as Socicana and Raizen for sugarcane, Acrioeste for beef, Gebana, Coopafi, Keurslagers and Amipa for cotton; and smallholder cooperatives with the aim of strengthening partnerships throughout the industry supply chain. The system, which was first tested on sugarcane, has more than a thousand participating producers and has already been adapted to cotton; soy and beef. Rural Horizons is now being expanded to other countries.

Fatima Cardoso, country manager of Brazil for Solidaridad South America, explains that the development of the expert system started with a challenge in mind.

“We are very excited about this system. Our approach during the development process was focused on, how to help farmers to make a transition to smarter and more sustainable land use. For this process to be successful, we believe farmers need innovative solutions and knowledge about new production and management practices.

https://vimeo.com/78282669

This video clip presents the functionalities of Rural Horizons and its innovative features.

The benefits of Rural Horizons

A single platform allows producers to make a quick scan of their production system and to benchmark their performance with that of their peers or against any standard or legislation, besides planning and estimating the cost of adjustments. All producers can log in and make use of the system, irrespective of their property size or current agricultural performance and category. The ground-breaking expert system also delivers the following:

  • Information from producers, creates an anonymous database enabling peer grouping and sector analysis;
  • Helps supply chain partners understand the real issues on the ground and support a step- by-step approach towards buying sustainable products;
  • It is cost-effective and replicable and produces an automated generation of tailored sustainability reports and benchmark analysis to enable economies of scale for high numbers of producers;
  • and It is easily adaptable to different realities such as, crops, target groups and languages, while using the same software.

“The Rural Horizons system is a great tool for any farmer, as we have seen in sugarcane”, explains, Sven Sielhorst, international programme manager for sugarcane at Solidaridad. “Rural Horizons has great potential to become a cornerstone in improving farmer performance. Since it has been developed together with farmers, their interests are hard-wired into the system. I believe this is what makes it such a powerful set of tools, and I expect a lot from it.”

To learn more about Rural Horizons go to: www.ruralhorizon.org