I have now been the most southern that I have ever been. We went to two site projects in Rancagua, a region south of Santiago that is mostly composed of farms and old school huasos. Both sites were using technology to reduce the damage that frost causes to crops and thus farmers' incomes and livelihoods.
The first farm was one of the largest in the region at 1000 hectares. They grow fruit; we drove past plenty of avocado and clementine trees, as it's winter in the Southern Hemisphere. This technology was more complicated than the second. It involves artificial intelligence and drones to identify areas in the field where frost is most threatening due to low temperatures. Water is then used in this machine above to create heat that is distributed throughout the field through a system of cables.
The second technology was more of something that someone without an engineering background would come up with. It's a giant fan that gets pulled through the field behind a truck with a heater attached to it so it distributes hot air and prevents damage from frost.
Both of these projects are in their initial stages so it is difficult to say how effective they will be in the long run. The ultimate goal is to maintain their crop yield in the face of changing conditions, in this case, increased frost. It seems that most of the projects that FIA runs have been quite successful in achieving their goals within individual cases. It will be interesting to follow FIA's work and see how they broaden the scale of this model and bring these effective technologies to more Chilean farmers.
My work continues as I prepare a report on which technologies and information systems FIA and Chile could use to better protect Chilean farms against the impacts of climate change.