Agriculture is recognized as one of the largest and most important industries globally, with over 60% of the world’s population depending on this industry for survival. While the agricultural industry brings countless benefits to society, it does also come with some drawbacks –for example, it negatively contributes to the increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Throughout its entire process, from farming, to the time the food reaches the end consumer, the agricultural industry produces approximately one third of the world’s carbon emission.
Unlike, other industries there has been very little research and development conducted within agriculture. As undoubtedly one of the big industries in the world, it is falling way short of reaching the ever growing population and its increasing food demand. This is where agri-food technology comes in.
Agri-food technology provides a much needed “growth spurt” in the agricultural industry. With all the challenges the industry is facing, this technology aims to increase the supply of the food while reducing the greenhouse effect and global warming caused by farming. Another aim is to increase the health and safety of consumers, while simultaneously improving profit margins for the individuals and companies that earn money from the industry.
Agri-food technology gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to improve an important industry that has a far-reaching impact across the world. These improvements include but are not limited to the following:
The main aim is to grow more food in accordance with demand, manage crop health, reduce water waste in crop production and improve the health and nutrition of plants and animals.
Agri-tech has shown real growth in recent years according to statistics provided by the UK government. The industry has been developed based on the following parameters.
Transparency between the Agricultural Industry and Consumers
In the past there was no transparency between the farmers,the food processing agencies and the consumers. Today, this transparency is essential for success. Consumers want to know as much information as possible about how the final product is reached and the agri-tech industry acts as the link between these parties. Through the use of this technology, the consumers can get details about soil health, the fertilizers used and whether the food is organically grown or not. In addition to this, various food corporations now work directly with the farmers to get their products through the agri-tech industry.
Biotechnology has led to the growth of the agri-tech industry. Agricultural biotechnology helps in the development of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified seeds, which leads to an increase in the production of food. The industry continues to find new solutions for farming and the growth of plants. Agricultural biotechnology also helps in the development of innovative foods. Examples of this includes food products with more protein or other specific nutritional requirements of the population.
Novel Farming System
Entrepreneurs in the agri-tech industry are developing innovative ways to carry out farming. This includes less natural resources like land and soil. The examples of these may include indoor farms, vertical farming and growing fresh products in high tech greenhouses among others.
On the Way Technologies
Nowadays, consumers want to know, how the food they purchase in retails stores is kept fresh while in transit. As a solution for this, agri-tech entrepreneurs have developed various technologies and sensors. These include food testing devices, food freshness sensors and shelf life enhancement technology to name a few.
Bio-Energy and Bio-materials
Agricultural produce is not only used for food.It also contributes to the development of bio-energy and bio materials. Production of bio materials and the feed stock extraction process are carried out within close proximity to each other. Low oil prices have hampered this process for some time in specific countries but a great opportunity for this still exists.
IoT based farm management software
The agricultural industry is dependent upon soil type, soil quality and the weather. Agri-tech entrepreneurs have developed an innovative IoT based software, that can track weather conditions and provide accurate information about the quality and type of soil. This software is changing lives for the better in the farming industry.
The use of machines revolutionized the field of agriculture in recent history. Now with the introduction of farm robotics, agricultural technology has been taken to a whole new level. The machinery used on farms will be operated using smart technology and the artificial intelligence of robots. This will significantly increase the speed of the work completed on the farms compared to the manual processes of yesteryear.
Trading Market Places
Instead of the farmers and the suppliers meeting face to face or over the phone, there are apps and websites developed through which, the farmer and the buyer can buy and sell products. The farmers are able to purchase seeds and other products online and also sell their own produce through the Internet.
As can be seen, agri-tech is a fast growing industry that is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. As long as it keeps improving traditional forms of agriculture and farming, while continuously transforming food production with its innovative technology, this industry is expected to expand for decades to come.