Updated: Jan 28
At the beginning of 2020, we have seen the global agriculture and industries have been hit hard by the pandemic, COVID-19. The international food prices started going high at the beginning of the year and decreased sharply until May 2020, then bounced back starting from June 2020.
We have seen the demand for most agriculture products has fallen as a result of the continuing pandemic, many farming were facing immense pressures to shift the supplies from hotels, restaurants, and cafés to grocery stores as the regulation of stay-at-home still applies in some countries.
Although many countries took actions on rebuilding the post-pandemic economics, however, the certainty of COVID-19 will be over soon still left unanswered.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions and manufacturing facilities have reduced the number of labours due to the economic crisis and will remain a significant risk in the latter 4 months of 2020 and early 2021, particularly in the agriculture sector.
The price of sugar will climb high on the rest of 2020
The world's agricultural production and distribution systems started to bounce back during the pandemic. Although pandemic plays an important role in agriculture products, however, the seasonal climate surely will likely continue influencing the current price of sugar during the next three months. The price of sugar monthly increases reflected the prospects of
a reduction in production due to the weather conditions in the EU and in Thailand, as the world's second largest sugar exporter with the strong import demand comes from China. This has driven the spike high monthly 1.5 - 3.2% until January 2021.
Urban farming flourishes
As we are facing a new and uncertain future, people are encouraged to spend more time at home and this has led to an increase in the number of people who have been trying their hand at growing fruits and vegetables for their food. Urban farming has much to offer especially during the pandemic. With all the lockdown and border restrictions, these highly impacted the harvest labor shortages and the urban farms could help to directly supply fresh fruit and vegetables to the local communities as the urban farms are growing their food right where people live.
The indoor vertical farming will be the solution for post-pandemic
One of the problems that have to be solved but yet still unfold is manual labor. This problem is getting worse due to the pandemic and border shutdowns. The lack of seasonal migrant workers, many farms are facing problems in the harvest season. For the same reason, the whole growing season is highly in danger. With the pandemic, healthy eating and lifestyle are now more trending, people are looking for the fresh green products next door. Vertical farming has been an answer for the communities. This practice is one of the essential practices of sustainable farming with a minimum number of people involved in the growing to the production process, by utilizing less space, crops grow quicker with the help of artificial light, the reduction on using the synthetic fertiliser and increase the optimisation of water use.
The world is moving to sustainable agriculture with digital technologies
During the pandemic, people are becoming more aware of the environment and the global trend has shifted toward a healthy lifestyle in sustainable food and agriculture method.
The lockdown in many countries has brought a significant reduction in air pollution
by 20 - 30% globally. Before the pandemic struck globally, conventional and high-intensity agriculture have contributed to the production of carbon footprint such as fertilizer runoff into lakes and rivers, and the negative impact on biodiversity is growing.
For example, the German government ratified a novel fertilization rule in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The changing process is starting on the agriculture companies must make sustainability strategic as a priority especially in the innovation of products and replaces the conventional technologies with digital technologies which bring efficiencies and environmental friendly. The market for the digital agriculture has been segmented into Asia Pacific, Europe and the US. The Asia Pacific region market segment is to be the fastest-growing market through 2021. The most populated countries such as China and India have increased the demands for the agricultural products. The government policies are supporting digitization of farm processes and the need for efficient usage of natural resources with the decreasing of migrant labourers, as reflecting the increment of adopting methods in digital agriculture techniques and technologies.
Dealing with the uncertainty and unpredicted situation, all the changes and new restrictions in 2020 are highly influential on the agriculture business, making it likely to be an interesting year to lead into new trends on food and how farms produce it.
*Author: Felliesia Regina (Horticulturist - Cofounder of AgriBioTechX)
*Source Images: Panidawijitpanya/iStock/GettyImages/Courtesy of ORE
Architecture/Courtesy of YeinJeon/Shutterstock/GoogleImage