Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Teams with Red Hat to Create Real-Time Machine Learning Platform to Digitize Grant Application and Payment Processing for Farmers

DAFM chooses Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat 3scale API Management to create new platform to speed up processes while improving user experience and data security and meeting compliance regulations


Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that the Government of Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has developed a real-time machine learning text analysis platform using Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies to serve more than 120,000 farmers in Ireland.


Red Hat has enabled us to get applications and features into production incredibly quickly compared to what we could deliver prior to introducing the platform, which means we’re helping make sure that the Department’s work will be able to serve Ireland’s farmers for many years to come.

Gareth Sheerin

enterprise architect, Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

DAFM leads, develops and regulates Ireland’s agrifood sector, which receives more than 130,000 grant applications from farmers and their agents each year and issues more than €1 billion of payments through its Basic Payment System (BPS). Its applications often include Personally Sensitive Information (PSI), which means DAFM places a high priority on security to protect that information.

Developers from DAFM worked with Red Hat Consulting and public and private IT service provider Version 1 to develop a machine learning solution, SmartText, to replace its manual grant application processes and improve compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The platform uses real-time machine learning (ML) capabilities, optical character recognition, text analytics and natural language processing to scan documents and images for sensitive information. When SmartText identifies a potential data privacy breach, access to the document is limited to authorized DAFM individuals who can review the content and take corrective action.

To meet GDPR requirements for data ownership, DAFM deployed SmartText on Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform, on-premises in its datacenter. With integrated DevOps capabilities, OpenShift has enabled DAFM to take SmartText from a proof of concept to production in a matter of weeks, has reduced the time it takes to develop new features from weeks to days, and also provides a common platform for applications to be managed and scaled across the department. DAFM is also using Red Hat 3scale API Management to manage access to SmartText APIs, which is critical for both security and compliance, and to connect the platform to its citizen-facing application.

Finding an enterprise open source solution was a key consideration for DAFM, which would bring standards-based technologies that could be better tailored to its specific needs, and which could also provide strong security capabilities. DAFM and its developers were already users of open source and saw the culture of collaboration and sharing that comes with open source as an important part of the project.

With intelligent, automated scanning of funding grant application documents, SmartText has helped DAFM increase overall confidence in the system while improving GDPR compliance, protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access and reducing the time spent on manual administration and management of grant applications. Now, DAFM can focus on reviewing grants and proactively discovering, designing and applying new ML models to meet internal and customer needs. Using Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies, DAFM has created a fully digital application process, giving farmers and their agents the ability to upload documents and easily check the status of their application.

Supporting Quotes

Keith Lynch, country manager, Ireland, Red Hat

“Powering the complex infrastructure behind the Basic Payment System requires a solution that’s simultaneously open and more secure. With an open hybrid cloud foundation provided by Red Hat, DAFM has the flexibility of the cloud and the security of keeping data on-premises. The department has developed a scalable service which helps meet GDPR regulations whilst also improving and digitalizing the grant application process for Ireland’s farmers and their agents.”

Gareth Sheerin, enterprise architect, Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

“Being able to rely on Red Hat Consulting to help us bring the best of breed applications into production is very important and with it, they bring a culture of sharing and learning that we find invaluable. Red Hat has enabled us to get applications and features into production incredibly quickly compared to what we could deliver prior to introducing the platform, which means we’re helping make sure that the Department’s work will be able to serve Ireland’s farmers for many years to come.”

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