economic: building rural economies

Sustainability 12

how we help to build sustainable agricultural and rural economies

Sustainability 13

Economic Case Study

4 January 2017

Transforming sugar harvesting and delivery through technology

Transforming sugar harvesting and delivery through technology


Azucarera wanted to help sugar beet growers deliver a more efficient and effective supply chain and identified technology as central to this improvement.

Azucarera prioritised the implementation of new technologies in beet growing by developing tools to support growers’ and hauliers’ with fast, efficient communication information channels to offer the best possible service.

What we did

1. Geolacha

In the spring of 2015, Azucarera created Geolacha, a tool that has a number of features, including:

  • Accurate and complete location of different agricultural plots on which beet is grown.
  • Analysis of geographical features in the different beet-growing areas, assisting decision-making on the organisation of machinery and transport.
  • A classification of beet plots, combining criteria related to soil characteristics, resistance of the land to rainfall and accessibility, enabling a better response to adverse weather conditions.
  • The calculation of optimum beet transport routes between growing areas and factories.
  • Real-time graphical monitoring of the development of the harvesting campaign.

2. Agricultural management mobile app

Since August 2015, growers have had access to a smart phone app which can be used during harvesting and delivery of the sugar beet crop. The app is free and compatible with all operating systems, and is designed to provide customised, real-time information on the progress of deliveries from each farm and also as a communication channel.

3. Fleet management by GPS positioning

Azucarera introduced GPS positioning of the beet haulage fleet with a view to guaranteeing an optimum logistics service. GPS tracking is important both for solving incidents and establishing performance indicators to assess and improve the service of all those involved in supplying beet.


The technological developments have had a positive impact on growers by enabling them to access real-time information to increase efficiencies across the supply chain, as well as allowing more accurate agricultural plotting.

Geolacha has helped to not only gather information but to analyse and interpret it.  The mobile app has become a comprehensive management tool for all parties involved in the harvesting process, providing them with all the relevant information needed to manage the procedure. As a result, traditional communications between area managers and growers and contractors, such as phone calls, have been drastically cut down in favour of more streamlined, faster communications.

The GPS tracking system has made it possible to have complete visibility of the supply chain, improving transport efficiency (including ratio loads per day, the number of lorries used by each contractor and waiting times), fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Share this case study:

AB Sugar China Azucarera British Sugar Germains Seed Technology Illovo Sugar Group Vivergo Fuelds