Benefits of technology in agriculture

By Ion Ilasco

Benefits of technology in agriculture

The United Nations predicts that the world population will grow to 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. In these circumstances, the question of how to sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050 without overwhelming the planet becomes paramount. The current food gap between crop calories produced in 2010 and those needed by 2050 is close to 50%. Reducing this food gap will require major new efforts from all stakeholders as well as breakthrough technological innovations that will not damage soil, water, and biodiversity. This article highlights some technological innovations that, if applied on a major scale, could make agriculture more sustainable and efficient.

Recent technological advancements have completely changed modern farming and agricultural operations. From robots, temperature and moisture sensors, and GPS to drones and genetic engineering, such sophisticated technologies can make agriculture more productive, profitable, safer, and allow it align with an environmental compliance framework. Moreover, technology allows farmers to monitor all stages of farming, minimize waste and reduce physical labor. Here is a list of technological innovations that help farmers in certain key high-impact areas:

Biotechnology – offers farmers the ability to manipulate certain aspects of crop and livestock production in order to make cost-effective and higher quality products. Moreover, when used safely and ethically, genetic modification, a huge area of biotechnology, can reduce the risk of disease and infection and ultimately create ideal characteristics for plants and animals to enable them to survive severe weather conditions.

Internet of Things (IoT) – the IoT forms the basis of smart farming which connects all devices, sensors, and systems that operate on a farm via the internet or other communication networks. It enables farming processes to be data-driven and data-enabled which in turn allows farmers to respond to alerts and changing conditions in real-time.

Drones – ground-based and aerial drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used to simplify farming operations that relate to crop assessment, irrigation, monitoring, spraying, planting, and soil analysis. For example, drones can spray fertilizers 40 to 60 times faster than people are able to do manually and without compacting the soil in the way that heavy tractors do.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – AI and machine learning technologies can be applied throughout all stages of modern farming, from sowing seeds to pest and irrigation management. AI helps farmers to monitor the health of livestock, crop yield prediction, and yield mapping. Several sources have commented that Artificial Intelligence in agriculture has brought about an agriculture revolution.

Take a look at this article to discover the role of artificial intelligence in solving ongoing development challenges.

Crop sensors – this type of technology is largely connected with all the other technologies mentioned above. Crop sensors gather large amounts of data that is then processed and used to make adjustments. Moreover, the sensors placed in fields allow farmers to obtain detailed maps of the harvest and land topography as well as information on variables such as the acidity and temperature of the soil.

Applying various technologies and artificial intelligence in agriculture, combined with smart and environmentally friendly practices, is likely to reduce the food gap between the crop calories produced today and in 2050. Using data-driven decisions in crop planning, monitoring and protection can reduce the losses and increase yields while robotized machinery can cut the amount of labor required and allow people to engage in more added-value sectors.

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