As the coronavirus pandemic leads to anxiety over the strength of the world’s food supply chains, everyone from governments to banks are turning to the skies for help. From a report: Orbital Insight, a California-based Big Data company that uses satellites, drones, balloons and cell phone geolocation data to track what’s happening on Earth, has seen inquiries about monitoring food supplies double in the past two months, according to James Crawford, founder and chief executive officer of the company. “We’re helping supply chain managers, financial institutions, and government agencies answer questions they never thought they would have to ask,” Crawford said in a phone interview.
The coronavirus outbreak has triggered a fresh surge in demand for alternative data to shed light on how the pandemic is impacting industries and trade across the globe. That’s especially important as multiple government lockdowns and tighter restrictions on the movement of people and goods upend supply chains and logistics everywhere from Asia to Europe and the Americas. Risks to food supply chains are becoming more noticeable as millions of people around the world are affected by government-imposed lockdowns, causing logistical nightmares, and as infections spread including among workers that are responsible to getting food from farms to supermarket shelves.
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