Australian government to build data platform to help drought-stricken farmers

Australian government to build data platform to help drought-stricken farmers
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The Australian government has gone to market seeking for help to design, develop, and roll out an online digital tool that farmers can use to assess the risk and impact caused by climate change.

According to the request for tender (RFT), the drought resilience self-assessment tool (DR SAT) would be used to provide data and online drought resilience assessment capability to give farmers insight to help improve their decision-making capabilities, help them better understand and manage risk and uncertainty, as well as help identify options to improve their business resilience and drought preparedness.

Additionally, the capability’s architecture, when delivered, is expected to be designed for the potential of a national rollout, as well facilitate individual data entry, analysis, and feature data visualisation and user dashboards, the tender said.

The initial phase of work would involve delivering a proof of concept through four pilots across the country.

Read also: Farming for the future: How one company uses big data to maximize yields and minimize impact (TechRepublic)

The DR SAT would be delivered as part of the federal government’s AU$5 billion Future Drought Fund managed by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. The allocated funding was designed to help farms and regional communities prepare for the impacts of drought.

“Australia is increasingly vulnerable to drought and the impacts of changing climate conditions. Whilst Australian farmers have traditionally become highly skilled at managing climate variability, the magnitude, intensity, and frequency of drought and extreme climate events is an unprecedented challenge that requires additional support,” the tender document outlined.

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The RFT added the successful applicant would deliver an assessment of existing farming planning tools and data collection capabilities to inform the preliminary development of the DR SAT, including considering whether there are opportunities for interoperability or linking with existing assessment tools.

“There may be some agricultural sectors which require a new standalone Drought Resilience Self-Assessment capability, whilst other sectors may require specific additions to already established and well-utilised decision support capabilities,” the document said. “At a minimum, DR SAT will deliver specific assessment modules for domains of resilience which may not have existing coverage.”

The department expects the project to commence at the end of January 2021 to meet the delivery deadline of June 2022.

Submissions for the tender close 16 November 2020.

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