Agriculture 4.0: The Future of Farming
By 2050, food production needs to increase by 70 percent to feed an estimated global population of 10 billion people. This is a daunting task and continuing with the status quo will mean that by 2030, 650 million people will still be undernourished .
Key challenges that are stressing the global food system are demographics, scarcity of natural resources, climate change and food waste. While there has been significant innovation in agriculture over the past few decades, new technology brings opportunities to increase the amount of food produced with fewer resources. Governments, individuals and businesses alike are seeing new possibilities for technology to improve farm profitability, food security and sustainability.
There are agricultural technologies at various stages of development, and they can be categorized by three main trends, which are:
· Producing differently — e.g. hydroponics, seawater farming and algae feedstock.
· Bringing food production to consumers, increasing efficiencies — e.g. vertical farming, urban farming and genetic modification.
· Incorporating cross-industry technologies and applications — e.g. drones, artificial intelligence, precision agriculture and food sharing/crowd farming.
The graphic below demonstrates how ready the technologies are to “grow” to market and achieve wide scale adoption.
Source: Agriculture 4.0 Oliver Wyman Report (linked below)
Governments and businesses are rapidly investing in this industry and over the past six years, farm tech investment have increased by 370 percent. The United States far outpaces other countries with investments, and continues to lead the way in the industry, followed by France, which has made significant steps to increase the overall sustainability of their food systems . Canada is next on the list and has invested $268 million in farm tech in 2020. Provincial and federal governments continue to make significant investments in this space, including the creation of the Federal AgriInnovate Program, aiming to accelerate the commercialization, adoption and/or demonstration of innovative products, technologies, processes or services that increase agri-sector competitiveness and sustainability . Check out the map below, to see how countries rank in terms of the number of farm tech investment deals in 2020.
Follow us as we research the latest technologies, and feature a new technology in each article. Stay tuned for our next edition, which will be focused on precision agriculture.