You’ve probably heard about the impending food crisis experts are predicting.
The world’s population is set to grow by 9.8 billion by 2050 and there is a huge question about how we can feed this many people. To make matters worse, climate change is reducing the amount of arable farmland available and conventional farming techniques are not good enough, both from a sustainability and production standpoint.
Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of AgTech or agriculture technology. The term refers to technology, like drones, IoT sensors, and analytics, to optimise farming techniques.
AgTech is proving to be an innovative solution for the food crisis because it is more than just about tweaking farming techniques.
While some experts have argued that AgTech is not a disruption, I believe it does disrupt the industry but in a positive way.
It is a positive disruption because AgTech allows businesses and farmers to devise solutions that would not have been possible a few years ago. Let us explore how AgTech is changing the agricultural industry for the better and helping us address the food crisis.
AgTech allows farmers and agribusinesses to execute some astounding innovations that allow them to reduce costs. Vertical farming is an excellent example. It is the practice of growing produce on shelves, stacked one on top of the other, in a closed environment.
This method of farming is far more sustainable than conventional farming; for example, agribusinesses reduced water use by over 70 per cent using this method.
While the concept of vertical farming is not new, AgTech allows agribusinesses to further build on and refine this concept. In other words, we are seeing the rise of the second generation of vertical farms that use data analytics and sensors.
Agribusinesses can exercise greater control over farming factors, like soil, humidity, and temperature, which improve farming methods.
Thanks to AgTech, farmers can find ways to manage their crop production and livestock in more efficient ways. For example, facial recognition software can scan cows to reveal vital information, like health status.
Raising livestock is a tricky business. For example, it is easy for illnesses to spread across livestock. Farmers then have a difficult time curbing the spread of these diseases. AgTech, however, offers a workaround for this problem because farmers can use the technology to track the wellbeing of livestock, making it much easier to identify if there is a disease in the herd and curb it.
This makes it so much easier for farmers to manage their livestock, without being too dependent on a large labour force. Reducing reliance on labour is great news because finding skilled workers is another pressing problem within the agriculture industry.
AgTech, like data analytics, can support agricultural production and crop management by helping agribusinesses and farmers expand into new territory.
One example is bioprospecting—the process of identifying plant produce molecules. This technology allows farmers and agribusinesses to plant specific breeds depending on their requirements. This supports more sustainable farming practices while giving agribusinesses thousands of plant varieties that can improve yield and reduce ecological demands.
AgTech, like analytics, can improve bioprospecting by making the process more accurate. Analytics platforms contain useful technology, like machine learning, to analyse large volumes of agricultural data to improve efficiency and reduce errors.
Supply and demand are some of the more challenging issues facing the farming industry.
Food, after all, is perishable and the supply of raw ingredients can be problematic. AgTech can close the gap between suppliers and consumer demand by optimising the agricultural production processes to improve yield quality and efficiency.
With the industry facing so many problems in the future, AgTech can offer a viable solution that can help agribusinesses sort out their farming issues. As the world heads towards a food crisis, innovative solutions are the key to solving many of these problems; solutions powered by data analytics, IoT, and Artificial Intelligence.
These solutions can optimise farm production and even pave the way for sustainable farming.
Visit Selerity to know more about AgTech and data analytics.