Agritech: According to the UN, the world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion to 9.7 billion in 2050. This will inevitably bring about food scarcity, and the world will have to face these challenges equipped with innovations.
The traditional agricultural model cannot sustain life on earth as we know it in the face of growing populations and diminishing resources. Fortunately, technological development has given hope to humankind in the form of smart farming. The world’s very first complete machine-operated crop – a crop sown and tended without a human ever entering the field – was harvested in 2017, and it is marked as a milestone in digital agriculture or, in other words, smart farming.
Sensors and robotics will help us calculate the right conditions for our crops to grow, and enhanced data analysis will help us improve our efficiency. Agriculture no longer needs to rely on the countryside since urban vertical farming will deliver various options for growing our food entirely.
Furthermore, lab-grown meat might give rise to a future free of cruelty in which less land is used for mass production of meat, and hence destruction of nature might become a bad mistake in the past we learnt from.
Okay, perhaps this sounds a bit dreamy; however, this is the currently transforming reality we live in that soon enough might change how we grow our crops, vegetables, and fruit. Digital agriculture has the tools to mitigate the challenges of productivity, income, and climate change.
So what does agritech currently entail?
Smart farming is one of the many ways digitalization has had the potential to achieve higher yield via automated irrigation and harnessing data, analytics, and machine learning to help farmers make better and more sustainable decisions.
Biotech, robotics, and big data are also transforming agriculture. Drones and satellites help cover large areas by monitoring crops and fields. Drones can also aid farmers in fighting crop disease, pollination, planting seeds, and food security. Internet of things (IoT) based software can track and provide accurate information about the soil’s weather, humidity, and current condition. Blockchain connects farmers with end-users, thus allowing customers to track where and how their produce was grown. The list almost seems endless.
There are even robots on the field now to generate the most detailed portrait possible of the size and health of the plants and the number and quality of corn plants.
What can be expected in the field in 2022?
Some of the main focus areas of agritech in 2022 will be IoT devices, next-generation internet connections, autonomous agricultural machinery, and satellite imagery. Satellite imagery significantly reduces the cost of monitoring. It enables better control of farmers who use practices that are leading to the degradation of the environment or that are harmful to human health. Speaking of which, it may even help governments devise and implement fundamental policies and improve the existing ones.
Experts are expecting increased interest in such innovations across the whole value chain. There is increased demand for traceability, transforming agriculture in groundbreaking ways.
Real-time data will be massively integrated into the system to generate essential business insights. Technological advances have considerable potential to help humankind achieve more resilient and sustainable agriculture, which is also better equipped to meet consumer needs.