New technologies have been adopted to create value, increase productivity
The ever-increasing global population capacity will continue to drive the need for food. Agricultural land is being further developed and cultivated to meet this growing demand, but with traditional farming methods. This process is becoming less and less efficient. Due to environmental stress in view of water scarcity, inefficient land use, soil depletion, and greenhouse gas emissions, the demands on sustainable agriculture are rapidly increasing.
Fortunately, new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), automation systems, and data visualization tools have been adopted to create value and increase productivity in the farming sector. Agtech advancements and innovations can be critical drivers of sustainable and environment-friendly agricultural practices.
- Technologies such as satellite imagery, AI, Information Technology, and many more when joining hands with agriculture, make the entire process predictable, sustainable and seamless
- The current market conditions and the environmental crises experienced globally have forced Agri-stakeholders to rethink their agriculture operations and decisions
- With real-time data and big data analytics, it has made it possible for agri-stakeholders to effectively manage their farms and also conclude better decisions related to agriculture
Smart farming is the use of modern technology to increase the efficiency of agricultural production. It includes using sensors, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to collect data that can improve yields, decrease inputs costs, and reduce wastage.
For example, the use of sensors can help farmers track the weather conditions in real-time and adjust their irrigation systems accordingly. The use of robotics can help with tasks such as crop mapping, weeding, and seeding. And finally, IoT can be used to connect all these different devices and systems to create a “smart farm”.
Remote management of pests and diseases
Pests and diseases are a major challenge for farmers as they can cause significant crop loss. Crop pests and diseases are one of the key causes of food insecurity, resulting in average yield losses of over 20 per cent for many vital crops. In the past, farmers had to rely on visual inspection to identify these problems. However, this is no longer the case with the advent of remote sensing technology.
This technology uses sensors to collect data about the health of crops. The data is then analysed by algorithms that can detect pests and diseases at an early stage. Farmers can then use the information to take preventive measures or treat the problem areas. Additionally, with maps showing the location of these problem areas, they can target their pesticides and herbicides more efficiently, which reduces the number of chemicals used.
Water management through controlled environment
Water is a vital resource for agriculture, and it is becoming increasingly scarce in many parts of the world. As a result, there is a need for more efficient water management in agriculture.
One way to do this is through the use of a controlled environment called ‘hydroponic’ farming. In hydroponic farming, plants are grown in a water-based solution instead of in soil. This method of farming requires less water as the water is constantly recycled and reused. Additionally, it is possible to control the nutrient levels in the water, which results in healthier plants.
The global hydroponics market size was valued at $2.1 billion in 2020. It is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.7 per cent from 2021 to 2028. Hydroponic farming is not only more efficient but also allows for year-round production as it can be done indoors. The same controlled environment is also suitable for growing fruit and vegetables.
Refining on-field operations
By collecting data on weather patterns, soil type, and crop health, these start-ups can provide farmers with valuable insights that can help them make informed decisions about their crops. This information can be used to improve irrigation systems, choose the best seeds for planting, and predict yields.
In addition, this data can be used to develop yield maps. These maps show where the highest yields are achieved and identify areas that need improvement. Yield maps can also be used to track the progress of new farming practices or innovations. Such solutions can help farmers reduce their use of pesticides and fertilisers, which can have a negative impact on the environment.
The bottom line
Technological development and digitalisation shape feasible boundaries to increase resource use and efficiency. Smart agriculture reduces the negative environmental impacts of farming, increases resilience and soil health, and decreases costs for farmers. Methodologies are being developed by which the yield and quality of foods are improved, with less consumption of resources and less environmental degradation.
Additional support like agronomy, output management, and agri-input services is being included under the broad umbrella of smart agriculture with a keen focus on the financial stability of farmers and the agro-ecosystem. The successful adoption of these technologies will enable the sustainable intensification of agriculture.
The Rise Of Agritech
AgTech or Agritech refers to technology-focused improvements within agribusinesses. It holds the power to eliminate the negative global environmental impact of agriculture by reducing the use of fertilizer and other chemicals required for food production. It adopts sustainable agriculture practices with the help of technologies that helps agri-stakeholders enjoy better yield and profitability by the end of their cycle.
Agritech today has brought all Agri-Stakeholders on a single platform through a seamless and effective collaboration amongst them. With real-time data and big data analytics, it has made it possible for agri-stakeholders to effectively manage their farms and also conclude better decisions related to agriculture, furthermore helping with effective farm planning and resulting in a better yield by the end of the cycle. Today it has made it possible for farmers to enjoy a steady income, a better quality of yield by the end of their respective harvest cycle, and with lesser wastage of resources.