By Bhanudas S. | 29 August 2020
Government plays an important role in driving innovation in the agriculture industry, and farm management technology is spearheading success in agricultural innovation in the modern time. Farm management technology is emerging as a new workhorse for governing bodies around the world that can instigate agribusinesses to uphold agri-innovation strategies. Read on to understand how the link between government strategies on agriculture innovation and farm management technology is inextricable.
A barrage of technologies in the 1960s – the Green Revolution – raised agriculture output significantly in developing countries. Since then, a confluence of rise in the world’s population and advances in automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been fuelling a new wave of innovation.
It is evident that modern agricultural technologies could help farmers and other members of the agriculture supply chain not only in agricultural planning but also in better risk assessments. Sensors also play a crucial role by identifying areas that need water or chemicals, while tracking crop qualities during harvest.
Meanwhile, drones could monitor crop development and create maps that approximately pinpoint what each acreage yields. Smart farm equipment and vehicles could also be programmed to use machine learning to minimize inputs and maximize outputs.
The adoption of digital agriculture and innovative farming methods, however, come with a price tag. While participants, stakeholders, and new start-ups cast an eye ahead to safeguarding food supplies for the incessantly increasing population, governments are making powerful contributions to smart yet sustainable farm production.
With the emergence of complex data collecting devices of today’s world, the agriculture industry is in the midst of high-tech revolution – particularly in the area of farm management and precision farming.
However, the wealth of technologies has elevated new challenges: big data for the entire supply chain of key agricultural products and the industry’s fundamental data resources is still in its infancy. The application of digital research in farming is backward as compared to the automotive or manufacturing industry.
Today, while there seems to be a robot or robotic device in the works to solve every problem in the farming operation, adequate data integration, sharing, development, and utilization is lagging. Adversely, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new concerns to the fore – disrupting demand and agricultural supply chains and perversely increasing the amount of food waste while threatening food security as well as food safety for several countries.
There is no clear path to fully eliminating water availability, soil health, and environmental challenges. Nonetheless, a wave of transformation and improvement is within the reach of governments across the world. With plans for fostering digital agriculture in place, governments are prioritizing the spread of digital technology applications in the form of agriculture management platforms and supporting smart food production capabilities.
Additionally, international collaborations in evolving innovations, R&D partnerships, and a huge attention to game-changing technologies in intellectual discussions are set to reinforce their strategies.
Governments today are leading the effort to develop a new agriculture ecosystem which is needed to mitigate modern agriculture challenges while sustaining the world’s food needs. Following the announcement of the Agriculture Innovation Agenda (AIA) – an initiative to align research, resources, and programs to position American agriculture to meet future global demands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) held a forum to create discussion opportunities for its stakeholders. With an aim to achieve a 40% increase in agriculture production and reduce the industry’s environmental impact by half by 2025, the organization is prioritizing contemporary solutions for the industry.
Strategic investments and collaborations will have important roles to play in the new innovations in agriculture. In the recent past, governments have started emphasising and commercializing agriculture, from investment in data collection to using drones for mapping. These factors played a significant role in the decision of the Government of Saskatchewan to invest $ 15 million in the development of new technologies in the agriculture industry. According to a provincial new release, the investment is expected to not only help accelerate the province’s recovery from the pandemic but also position Saskatchewan as a global leader in the agtech sphere.
In recent years, the model of innovation has radically changed across a breadth of various industries, and agriculture is no exception. For an industry based on seasons, rotation cycles, and predictable rhythms of harvest, the need to keep pace with technology changes is a significant race. Considering the tremendous potential of youth to use digital technologies, the UNDP Global Centre co-hosted the first virtual dialogue on ‘Youth Digital Innovation Solutions for Food and Agriculture’ with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The session was targeted towards solving global agricultural challenges and identifying the roles of youth in digital transformation for agriculture.
Despite favourable initiatives and funding from governments worldwide, the agriculture industry continues to face potentially greater and most disruptive effects of climate change. While the degradation of biodiversity comes on the top of effects of climate change, a significant increase in greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture is threatening the sustainability of food supplies. Consequently, innovations are forthcoming to farming practices that support both sustainable and climate-resilient farming to unknown challenges.
For instance, the Cauca Climate-Smart Village Project of Colombia uses a low-cost weather station network to collect information and forecast temperature, humidity, and precipitation for the following three months. Subsequently, farmers would use the information to make better decisions and adapt to changes in an agile manner. Apart from generating evidence to increase productivity and food security, the creation of new opportunities for youth is a unique feature of the project.
Agriculture is a traditional industry, but the quest for tech-enabled sustainability continues to move on an upward swing. Notably, government efforts have responded to food challenges and increased the production to an impressive level. With the advent of advanced farm management technologies and smart farming methods, governments will have an opportunity to make yet another contribution to the success of the agriculture community.