Population Explosion Increases Food Demand
According the United Nations population projections, the world population will increase by 2 billion in the next three decades, from 7.7 billion today to 9.7 billion in 2050. Around 2100, it could hit 11 billion. This so-called “population explosion” impacts every aspect of our lives, including food security. There will be more people to feed in the coming thirty years.
The problem is there will be less farmland to grow food because of increased urbanization and climate-triggered issues such as potential flooding and droughts. Further more, farmers will be more likely to face crop and animal disease in some part of the world as climate changes. In this context, it is high priority for the agriculture industry to improve efficiency and productivity in the limited available land.
Meet Agritech, A Farmer’s New Friend that Optimizes Farming Processes
When it comes to improving and optimizing processes, innovation adoption is an instrumental strategy. As we have covered in our previous infographic on Insurtech, more and more industries are joining this new innovation wave. Agriculture sector is one of them: “Agritech”—the combination of the words “agriculture” and “technology”— has become a booming field in recent years.
Agritech means the use of technology to improve crop yields by optimizing various farming and growing processes. In other words, Agritech aims at more food production in less space with fewer inputs.
Agritech not only helps farmers produce more food, but also saves them money and time. New technologies automate tasks or services using big data analytics and artificial intelligence. Robots or IoT devices replace manual farming labor. These costs of services and labor, by the way, are the two of the four largest expenditures for farmers in the US, according to a report of National Agricultural Statistics Service. With increased profit and spare time, farmers will be able to focus on more constructive activities. These activities may include better marketing, distribution channel expansion and investing in high-tech foods such as plant-based proteins.
Where Is Agritech Used?
We now know agriculture analytics and smart technologies bring greater efficiency to the agricultural processes. But where exactly can they fit? Listed below are some examples where farmers utilize data analytics and machine learning.
Enabling Smart Decision Making to Generate Maximum Yield
Big data analysis in farming activities provide farmers with granular data on various elements of the processes. Based on the detailed data on rainfall patterns, water cycles, fertilizer requirements, risk assessment etc., farmers are able to make data driven decisions for precision farming. For example, predictive analytics on weather conditions helps farmers in deciding which crops to plant or when to harvest. The better management ultimately improves farm yields and profitability.
Monitoring Soil and Crop Health
The soil health is vitally important for better crop production. Managing soil and crop health is one of the fields where agriculture analytics shows its great potential. With the help of IoT sensors within the agricultural soil, farmers can instantly identify the soil’s moisture content and its chemical composition and structure. These implanted smart devices automatically inform the farmers when the level of elements such as potassium, nitrogen, phosphorous, or moisture content in the soil reaches inadequate values. This enables farmers react and take action promptly before it is aggravated.
Improving Ethicality in the Use of Pesticides
The use of pesticide is an ethical issue in today’s world. The farming industry has long discussed pesticides toxicity to the environment as well as to human body. Using excessive amount of pesticides could harm human body as well as the environment, but using the appropriate amount of pesticides remains crucial in preventing unwanted insects and disease. Here, big data offers opportunities for precision agriculture. AI models facilitated by the big data analytics recommend farmers what pesticides to administer, when and by how much.
There will be more and more opportunities for Agritech to penetrate the agriculture industry as the food insecurity increases. As a matter of fact, the Agritech Market Report predicts that the global Agritech market will reach $41.17 billion by 2027 from US$ 17.44 billion in 2019. Encouraging widespread innovation adoption will be much more significant to lift the global food production to support sustainable human development.
Getting Ready for Digital Adoption?
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