Climate change is a gathering storm drawing ever near that will affect all walks of life in ways that we haven’t even begun to fully understand. In the coffee space, the effects of climate change are already being felt, the brunt of which has been aimed squarely at the producers.

But modern problems require modern solutions. That’s why La Marzocco’s Accademia del Caffè Espresso has teamed up with Cisco and Pnat for Consenso, a new project using IoT technology (Internet of Things) to see how climate change is impacting Arabica production, and more importantly, how it can be combated.

The project will take place on the Utengule Coffee Farm in Mbeya, Tanzania. There, researchers will use a variety of specially designed solar-powered sensors to “to develop actions that can improve the yield of the farm, increase its sustainability, and make the best use of every drop of water to irrigate it.”

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At the heart of Consenso are IoT sensors built to purpose by the Academia and Pnat that are placed directly on coffee plants and will constantly monitor “internal plant parameters like health and hydration.” The data from these sensors will then be combined with those from environmental probes that will track moisture and the presence of any pathogens.

These sensors will also be used for the secondary goal of the project: calculating and visualing the farm’s real-time carbon storage as well as how shade trees could benefit CO2 and particulate absorption.

In all, the project will utilize 52 solar-powered sensors, a solar-powered weather station, and eight plant-growth monitors to collect data transmitted using Cisco-designed “local radio-type connection” to PNAT’s Florence, Italy data center to be analyzed.

“In Tanzania, and in the Mbeya region in particular, water has become an increasingly critical resource for coffee cultivation over the past 15 years. Climate change has shortened the rainy season so pumping and irrigation systems are now used, extracting water from nearby rivers,” the Accademia del Caffè Espresso’s Coffee Research Leaders Massimo Battaglia states. “This is a unique project that makes us very proud because it allows us to adapt agricultural practices to the new and real needs of plants. From now on it will be the plants that will suggest us how to deal with the new climatic and environmental challenges.”

The end goal to the Consenso project and collecting such sizable volumes of real-time data on farming conditions is not just to help Utengule or Tanzania, but to create systems and strategies that can be implemented at coffee farms the world over to increase plant resilience in the face of climate change.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.