Updated: Jan 14
As a matter of fact, the world's population is increasing rapidly at a rate of 1.05% per year, i.e., 81 million people per year. This gives us the challenge to increase agricultural productivity to feed the increasing population. Hence, the trend in conventional farming is transforming and revolutionizing the agricultural industry.
All around the world, countries are adopting smart ways to upgrade agricultural practices. Given below are the top five global trends revolutionizing agriculture in 2021. Thus, allowing us to learn from them and improvise the best in our nation.
1. Smart farming
Smart farming is an application of artificial intelligence and communication systems, giving farmers a digital solution to farming practices. Farmers are using the digital device with embedded sensors in their field that collects and exchanges farm data. This system is simply referred to as IoT (Internet of Things). The farm data is analyzed automatically using specific crop models; and notifies the farmers with the prediction of the crop health, diseases, soil quality, weather risks and apt amount of water to irrigate the field.
IoT is revolutionizing agriculture in providing smart connectivity in the process of the crop production system. Thus, up-scaling the conventional farming practices to the digital platform. As a result, maintain the higher crop yield with an enhanced nutrition value and lesser susceptibility to pest diseases.
Benefits: Infrastructure progression and crop quality improvement.
Examples: Agridata, Cropx and the list goes on.
2. Developing a startup hub
Traditionally, farming was associated with the involvement of illiterate-poor farmers. But now the business trend is changing in this sector. Globally youths and investors are involved in it to revolutionize agriculture with a million-dollar profit-making business in 2021. They see an extensive scope in agri startups and come forward with massive potential for agriculture development and food security. Hence, the number of startups is increasing in this fast-growing industry.
According to Maple Capital Advisor's report, in 2019 alone, the investors invested around $244.59 million in this sector, increasing in 2020. It is expected to rise further in 2021. Interestingly, despite the Corona pandemic in 2020, an agri startup, Bijak, has successfully raised the $11.8 million business. It shows that the industry is booming, perhaps with high social impact.
As a result of agri startup, the premium quality pesticide-free, fresh fruits and vegetables are also available under the controlled-environment condition all around the year in the challenging climate such as the Middle East.
Benefits: Efficient trading, management of the supply chain, trace flow, logistics and distribution, and other value chains.
Examples: Pure harvest smart farms, Green agrevolution, and the list goes on.
3. Leveraging the co-operative
Cooperative is also known as a farmers' co-op. It is a farmer's society committed to helping its members rationally conduct the end-to-end agricultural activities, including help in training and other processes. The trend in agriculture revolutionizes and equips farmers with the emerging trend; the co-op role comes into action. Hence, leveraging market-based strategies through a coordinated effort by stakeholders is being practiced in many countries to achieve food security. Sometimes, it also incorporates farmers, government, civil society and even the private sector. The successful incorporation includes decisive leadership, strategy and investment models and balancing transformation with investment, infrastructure, organization and monitoring.
Connecting farmers with the co-operative formulates a considerable potential for increasing farmers' income. It also enables them with community support, advice and market linkage. From time to time, they are well informed of the government schemes, policies, crop improvement solutions and training on the use of IoT and advanced tools. India has FPOs (Farmer Producer Organizations) as co-operatives.
In order to quickly and efficiently grasp the emerging trends in agriculture, co-operatives are playing a crucial role. Hence, they are responsible for enhancing farmers association and market performance.
Benefits: Market linkage, advisor to farmers for seeds, fertilizers, equipment, crop-related matters, food processing and a multinational banking and financial services.
Examples: Rabobank, MFA incorporated, and so on.
4. Agriculture Innovation
Novel innovation in agriculture is revolutionizing the agricultural world with hi-fi technology. In order to increase production and protect the environment, high-tech farming technologies play a crucial role. According to the World Bank, agriculture innovation has the potential to overcome poverty in developing countries.
Some of the agriculture innovations revolutionizing agriculture in 2021 are mentioned below.
1. Hyper-spectral imaging and deep learning algorithms provide accurate yield estimation, thus facilitating proper food packaging.
2. Web- and aerial imaging-based technology provides aerial imaging data and analyzes the field and environment using a drone device.
3. Integrate deep technical expertise and data science algorithms with a fermentation bioreactor that provides microbial strains to enhance soil nutrients, animal nutrition and natural crop protection.
4. Blockchain technology provides end-to-end solutions throughout the whole supply chain.
5. CRISPR/Cas9 based genome editing technology provides fruits and vegetables with a higher yield, enhanced nutrition, and higher antioxidant and disease-resistant traits using an advanced biotechnological genome-editing tool.
Benefits: Decrease fuel consumption per hectare, eliminate waste in the supply chain, reduce overlap, crop improvement, pest management, less input use of fertilizers or crop protection products and increased productivity, collection of higher detailed data, Deeper supply chain insight, consumer transparency, less labor requirement and cost-effectiveness.
Examples: Pairwise, Ag Eagle, and so on.
5. Climate-smart agriculture
Global warming leads to climate change, which increases the risk of crop-yield, livestock-raising and fisheries, particularly in low-income countries. Thus, the challenge is to achieve sustainable agricultural development for food security under climate change. The FAO (Food Agriculture Organization) solution is to establish the climate-smart agriculture (CSA) sector. It includes the redevelopment of technical, policy and investment strategies to achieve food security via CSA.
The trend of breeding seeds from conventional to CSA is revolutionizing agriculture in 2021. The research community and breeders are involved in making seeds available with improved adoption, tolerance, and recovery from climate change. Such crops are referred to as climate-smart crop varieties, which can withstand climate change and avoid the risk of crop failure under climate change. Along with seed distribution to the farmers, such seeds are also deposited in the seed bank for research communities worldwide.
One example of the CSA revolution is that on dry land, farmers are successfully growing bajra, guarphal and castor oil plants, which are giving a higher yield, also growing pomegranate orchards and medicinal plants on such land.
Benefits: Enhanced farming productivity with high-quality, climate change resilience and compliance, greenhouse gas reduction, economic benefits farming and trading community, affordability and enhanced nutritious food.
Examples: Sustainable Food Lab, ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics), and so on.
*Author: Dhriti Satya (Plant breeder and Biotechnologist - Cofounder of AgriBioTechX)
*Note that any firm mentioned above does not sponsor this blog.
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