Modern-day farming and agriculture are no more a reminder of the laborious sweat-intensive field-work for farmers and slow growth patient process. With the development of agriculture trends, the past years have signified a thriving improve in agricultural yields, excellent examples of contemporary farming, and many development in agricultural marketing. Technological advancements in the agriculture sector equal the growing demand for farm automation, digitalization, and sustainability. Emerging agriculture trends mark a shift towards smart farming and efficient utilization of time and resources while reducing crop losses and farmers profit. Smart farming is a concept that deploys technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) for farming. Robots and drones are replacing traditional farm operations such as plucking and picking fruits, killing weeds via burning, or spraying water and fertilizer on crops. Imagery from drones and satellites, coupled with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, provides a high-resolution and location-specific view of the field. Furthermore, IoT devices, powered by sensor technology, collect real field data that allow farmers to make data-driven decisions. In addition, the widespread adoption of precision agriculture and indoor farming in recent years fuels IoT growth in farming. Taken together, these technological innovations generate disruptive and sustainable changes in agricultural practices. The focus is to not only to improve the overall quality and quantity of crops and livestock but also to reach the ultimate goal of a sustainable future for all living things on earth. The last few years have exposed global supply chain fragility and transformed the way many do business. Early on, food system vulnerabilities became clear as the farm-to-consumer infrastructure broke down. Farmers dumped milk, and tilled under crops with nowhere to go. Resilient companies are ready to change and shift with technology changes rebounded quickest, different agricultural startups are ready to make sure that the agricultural sector is well demystify with well-grounded technologies to make the laborious farm work easier. As Covid-19 pandemic pressures continued through the year 2019, 2020 and 2021, early adopters kept their lead in adopting agricultural technologies while influencing late adopters. Now, as we begin to see light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, expectations remain for these technological shifts to persist.
Farming remains one of the world’s oldest industries, faced by numerous challenges; scarcity of arable land, the spread of pests and diseases, biodiversity loss, and increasing climate change pressures. Another projected strain for the agricultural sector is the increasing world population; the global population is expected to reach over 8 billion in 2030 and over 9 billion in 2050. Sub-Saharan Africa’s population will have doubled by then; the region will be home to one in every four people on the planet earth. The major advantages of using technology in agriculture are increased crop productivity, diminished impact on the environment/ecosystems, minimal use of water, energy, pesticide to turn down food prices, and reduced water pollution
Agriculture is critical to the African economy, accounting for over 20 per cent of GDP and over 40 per cent of employment. This means that the continent’s output must thrive and meet the demands of its growing population. Africa must maximize agricultural productivity to ensure food security and economic growth, and technology is its greatest reliance. As the sector steadily moves toward a more technologically advanced form it is important that the human resources in the sector humbly embrace it.
Here are the most important agricultural technology trends to watch in 2022 and beyond.
- Controlled Environment Food Production
Have you noticed that conventional farming practices aren’t easy to attain owing to the climatic fluctuations and extremities around 2021 in south west Nigeria, the time farmers expected rain, the climate still gave no rain. Also, with growing modernization and urbanization, growing crops in populated cities along with population hike isn’t so favorable.
A solution to this situation is controlled environment for agriculture (CEA) where farmers subject the plants to a controlled amount of light, humidity, nutrients, and water. Some of the planned indoor settings available to attain Controlled Environment Agriculture are vertical farming, indoor farming, and greenhouses. Many new techniques are found to attain a balanced equilibrium for plants and improved food production are Aeroponics, hydroponics, aquaponics, vermiponics. Many of this new techniques have been tested and well proven in Nigeria, for example, Nigeria now have a lot of young farmers laying the foundation of their farms in greenhouses, establishing hydroponics systems and trying out Aeroponics systems.
- Agricultural robotics
It took me several month to agree with the development and creation of farm robotics, I decided to upgrade my knowledge and started seeing some international farms, I saw how agricultural robotics were used and efficiently harnessed for food production. If you haven’t seen it in real life, you’ve probably seen movies where robots act like humans, some South Korea dramas have made this hallucinations real with the quality of k-dramas displaying robot and how they work. Today, some startup around the world that deals with delivery and logistics now receive delivery packages from robots as well as trainings, and coaching. In agriculture, we now have seed planting robots, fruit picking robots, sheep shearing robots, de-weeding robots, crop spraying robots, etc. For example, spraying robots can be unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) that apply fertilizers, avicidies, herbicides, and pesticides. Some robots distribute seeds, animal feed, and herbicides. These robots often perform their tasks precisely, even better than humans. Agricultural robots achieve a higher quality of fresh produce, lower production costs, and a decreased need for manual labour.
- Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Equipment
Incorporating artificial intelligence in agriculture provides farmers with real insights from their field, allowing them to be proactive. Artificial Intelligence offers predictive insights for forecasting weather data, crop yield, and prices, thereby helping farmers make informed decisions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms automate anomaly and disease recognition in plants and livestock. This allows timely detection and corrective response if required. Biotechnology also deploys ML algorithms for gene selection recommendations. Further, AI provides easy access to finance to creditors who are denied mainstream credit. Startups are exploiting AI in several ways to come up with innovative solutions that improve overall agricultural quality.
This Agricultural development, Technologies, Trends and Startups discussed in this write up is for the purpose of mindful development in the agricultural development. Among others, Internet of Things solutions, agricultural robotics, and agro-biotechnology will change the sector. Identifying new opportunities and emerging technologies to implement into your agribusiness goes a long way in gaining a competitive advantage over all other agro competitors.