Argentina and Brazil

Sowing seeds of progress: Brazilian connected agriculture group eyeing Argentina

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, February 02, 2023
Sowing seeds of progress: Brazilian connected agriculture group eyeing Argentina

ConectarAGRO, Brazil's biggest industry association focused on the connectivity of farms and rural areas, is hoping to drive talks with Argentine counterparts to take this model to that country too, possibly this year.

“The brands that are in ConectarAGRO have been meeting with peers in Argentina to verify the best way to organize actions to increase connectivity in the Argentine market,” Ana de Andrade, president of the association, told BNamericas.

Andrade is also Brazilian regulatory affairs director at US farm equipment manufacturer AGCO Corporation, one of the founding members of ConectarAGRO.

The idea of expanding the multi-stakeholder entity to Argentina is not new, but has made little headway in recent years. However, the talks have been stepped up a level, particularly with Afat, the Argentine association of tractor and agricultural equipment manufacturers, Andrade said.

Among the models envisaged is the creation of a new, separate association in Argentina, formed in accordance with the country's legislation. 

This sister entity would include some of the current members of ConectarAGRO in Brazil, most of which are multinationals, and would also incorporate Argentine producers and service providers interested in expanding telecom infrastructure in the country's rural areas.

“Although [Brazil's and Argentina's] shortcomings and bottlenecks are the same regarding the lack of connectivity in agricultural areas, other characteristics of the country must also be considered, both in terms of agricultural production and the institutional framework, in order to design the best model,” Andrade said.

After its launch in December 2019, the ConectarAGRO group – whose eight founding companies were AGCO, Bayer’s Climate FieldView, CNH Industrial, Jacto, Nokia, Solinftec, TIM and Trimble – formally became a non-profit civil association in 2020.

With the change of status, new companies were able to join the group as partners or associates.

US IoT enabler Telit joined the group last year, for example. Telit's modules, data plans and platform capabilities are used to provide agricultural producers and solutions providers with the connectivity, data and management tools to deliver IoT applications like crop/livestock monitoring, water/irrigation management, farm-to-fork regulatory compliance and precision farming.

Norwegian fertilizer company Yara International is another recent member, as is Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world’s biggest provider of public cloud solutions.

The association has also just agreed to include a new conglomerate, although Andrade declined to reveal its name for the moment.

According to Andrade, the group is open to new players, particularly connectivity companies, telecom infrastructure providers, and machinery and equipment manufacturers.


In 2022, the projects developed through ConectarAGRO took 4G connectivity to 12mn hectares of land, roughly the same size as Portugal, in rural and remote areas of Brazil. 

According to Andrade, this area covers a population of around 1mn people in 485 municipalities and 12 states. The goal is to connect at least another 1mn hectares over the next few months.

With respect to mobile technology, the 4G used in rural areas, mainly provided through the 700MHz frequency, is “more than enough” to meet the current needs of producers, she said. 

By operating at lower frequencies than 5G, which mostly uses spectrum above 1GHz, the frequency provides a much wider coverage area, albeit without the same transmission capacity and ultra-low latency as 5G. As a result, costs are cheaper, since fewer antennas are needed to cover the same area.

According to Andrade, the main connectivity demands of farmers, ranging from connected harvesters to drones and intelligent irrigation systems, do not require ultra-low latency.

“4G is an excellent solution for rural areas at present. The 700Mhz network is very efficient to address the existing demand,” she underlined.


One of the group's chief objectives is to make farmers and policymakers aware of the importance of rural connectivity to increase agricultural efficiency, in addition to improving the quality of life of people who live and work in the countryside, she said.

ConectarAGRO has engaged with Brazilian development bank BNDES regarding the means to finance cooperatives, although not individual producers, to help them acquire technology, according to Andrade.

She also advocates for the use of the Fust fund for universalization of telecom services to finance rural connectivity, as well as telcos' compliance with obligations established in Brazil's 5G auction, which required the winners of 700MHz licenses to take 4G to small communities.

“What we've been working on at ConectarAGRO are two very clear lines. One is the use of cooperatives to lead the initiative and provide the service to their members – it's a possibility."

"The second way is through public policies, and we talk to all three levels of government – federal state and municipal. We don't want to leave anyone behind. Where there's agriculture, there's a high HDI [human development index].”

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