Introduction to future trends in agriculture: Technology plays a huge part in agriculture. Some agriculture technologies like drones, telematics, crop sensors, and precision farming are helping farmers increase productivity on their land. Then, it seems like these land technologies are already a staple on many farms. We can expect to see better, faster, and more affordable versions of these trends in the future. Its contribution in the GDP has reduced to less than about 20% and in agricultural production contribution of other sectors increased at a faster rate. This has made us self-sufficient and taken us from being a food after independence to a net exporter of agriculture products.
The agriculture sector has transformed over the past 50 years. Seed, irrigation, and fertilizers also have improved by helping farmers increase yields. Artificial intelligence, analytics, connected sensors, and other types of emerging ways could further increase yields, improve the efficiency of water, and resilience that is crop cultivation and animal husbandry.
Following are the agriculture business categories;
- Some productive resources include seed, energy, fertilizer, machines, and many more.
- Some agricultural commodities include processed and raw commodities of fiber and food.
- Important services like insurance, storage, credit, transportation, and more.
Future trends in agriculture are important for the planners and all other stakeholders. The government and other farming organizations are trying to find out the key challenges of agriculture. Some key challenges in agriculture are small holdings of farmers, primary and secondary processing, infrastructure, supporting the efficient use of resources and marketing, supply chain, reducing intermediaries in the market. Then, there is a need for work on cost-effective methods with environmental protection and on conserving our natural resources. The average consumer now wants to know where and how their food is grown, and this demand is shaping the way large and small farmer’s plant, raise, and tracks their products. Technology will mainly play a massive role in allowing farmers to manage their farms. Also, it will help consumers learn more about the food they eat.
A guide to future trends in agriculture, modern technology in agriculture
Advantageous weather and soil conditions, high food demand, various fiscal incentives given by the government for inputs, production infrastructure, availability of cheap credit facilities, and marketing and export promotion are attracting individuals, big companies, startups, and entrepreneurial ventures to do a lot of investments on innovations, inventions, research, and development. Increasing average income, increasing population and globalization effects in agriculture will increase demand for quantity, quality, and nutritious food.
The importance of agriculture
Agriculture provides employment opportunities for many people. To meet the growing demand, the agricultural sector’s productivity must increase, as one of the premises of sustainable intensification. More agricultural output can be required under a scenario of increasing food waste, inequalities in income, and exacerbated climate change. Though, improvements in agricultural efficiency are not enough to maintain a sufficient increase in crop yields, as they are impeded by climate change, degradation of natural resources, and the associated loss of biodiversity.
Climate-smart agriculture and resource-conserving practices can further favor productivity increases, but they are hampered by climate change, natural resource degradation, and biodiversity loss. Though, the outbreaks of transboundary pests and diseases affecting animals and plants are increasing with globalization. Some increased anti-microbial resistance, partly due to antibiotic use in livestock production poses a threat to human health.
The agriculture sector is the most environmentally friendly method. It is a consistent source of life for humanity, and also one of the honest sources of income. All the food substances those are essential like agriculture produces vegetables, proteins, and oils. It is very important to human beings as it forms the basis for food security. Agriculture helps human beings grow the most ideal food crops under environmental factors.
Below are the several factors why agriculture is important;
- Most people’s main livelihood source is farming and 70% of people rely directly on agriculture.
- Agriculture contributes to economic development. Then, the national income level and people’s standard of living are improved. The fast growth rate in the agriculture sector offers increased motivation for development. It aids to make a good atmosphere for the overall economic development of a country. Economic growth relies on the agricultural growth rate.
- Agriculture development may also increase savings. The rich farmers we see today started saving mainly after the green revolution. This surplus quantity can be invested further trends in the agriculture sector to develop the sector.
- The agricultural product’s growth contributes to a marketable surplus. People rely on food production through agriculture practices that they meet from the nation’s marketable surplus. After that, production increases and this leads to the expansion of marketable surplus. Also, this can be exported to other nations.
- The agricultural growth of developing countries has helped relieve them from a shortage of capital. Previously, developing countries were more reliant on foreign capital, which came with strings attached to them. The agricultural sector needs a lot less capital for development.
- The shortage of agricultural products can impact the agro-based industry significantly and cause a consequent increase in their product price levels. Also, it can impede the growth of the nation’s economy in developing countries, which largely depend on agricultural products to boost their economies. For an infrastructure that’s creating high demands for industrial products, the agricultural product demands the development of the commercial sector.
Importance of technology in agribusiness
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Technology in the agriculture sector affects many inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, and seed technology, etc. Genetic engineering techniques and biotechnology have resulted in pest resistance and increased crop yields.
Newly developed technologies are focus on robotics, precision agriculture, artificial intelligence, and more. Some technological advancement that has innovated the agriculture sector;
- Improved productivity from the mechanization of agriculture. Combine harvesters are finding greater use to make the agriculture processes faster and reduce manual labor. Farming is mainly characterized by small landholdings, and the need is to partner with others to take benefit of modern machines.
- Climate or weather prediction through artificial intelligence. A major advance in the agriculture sector is the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Modern equipment and tools based on AI enable data gathering and assist in precision farming and then informed decision-making.
- Artificial intelligence finds slow acceptance in a country. AI-based methods can bring precision to the large-scale system and lead to an exponential rise in productivity.
- Resilient crops developed by using biotechnology. Agriculture refers to a wide resource of methodologies that mainly include traditional breeding methods, genetic engineering, and the development of microorganisms for agriculture. Generally, genetic engineering uses the understanding of DNA to identify and work with genes to increase crop resistance to pests, and the growth of high-yielding varieties also makes improvements to livestock.
- Some controversial methods have led to resistance to biotechnology adoption; and there is no doubt that the future of agriculture is heavily dependent on safe biotechnology, given the changing climate and increase in population.
- Improving farm yields and supply chain management by using Big Data. The collection and compilation of data and processing to make it useful for decision-making/problem-solving are expanding the way big data functions.
- This is resulting in a greater collection that has to be meaningfully interpreted and managed. Data can be from external sources such as social media, supplier networks, markets, or from sensor or machine data from the fields. Agriculture transformation from using big data is taking place that affects supply chain management and crop yield.
Role of modern technology in agriculture
Agriculture is mainly dependent on nature, but climate and global warming issues make farming unpredictable and also affect yield. Some modern methods and innovative approaches are increase productivity and raise profitability. Although significant food grain production improvement, there are many challenges to tackle as the government aims to increase agricultural production as a share of GDP.
Technology has the main role in agriculture practices. Innovation is leading an evolution in some practices thereby that reduce losses and increase efficiency. Then, this is positively impacting farmers. The use of digital tools is driving continuous improvement in the agriculture sector, and resulting in improving crop yields and helping increase income.
The increasing role of the corporate sector in agriculture is important by applying new methods and accessing new markets. There is a wide variation in agricultural growth across different states at least during the last 5 to 7 years or so. At one end of the spectrum, there are states like Gujarat that are showing strong growth of 8 to 10% per annum in agriculture, while at the other end are states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, etc., that are growing barely at 1 to 2.5% per annum.
Important future trends in agriculture
Below are a few agriculture technology trends that are helping modern farmers make better, faster, and smarter decisions and shaping the future of farming.
Vertical farming is defined as a type of farm where crops are grown on vertically stacked structures, and it can be a staple for the future of the agriculture sector. With the population expected to boom, the ability for vertical farms to take up less room than a traditional farm can make them more popular. They used a tiny amount of water compared to the great outdoors. There are plenty of clues in the farms that can help us predict the future of the agriculture sector.
Increased Use of Aerial Imaging – More growers will turn to aerial imaging to better manage their crops. Drone technology and satellite imaging allow farmers to see crop variations. Farmers will be able to manage their crops more accurately, allowing for increased profits by using aerial imaging.
Regenerative Agriculture – Due to concerns about climate change effects and weather volatility, consumers are pushing organizations and individuals to adopt regenerative agriculture systems. Then, this refers to practices that increase soil carbon sequestration like reduced tillage and the use of cover crops. While professionals debate whether the regenerative agriculture sector will be a solution for climate change mitigation, growers agree these systems increase soil health and fertility.
Accurate Yield Predictions – Some agriculture systems will allow farmers to quickly predict yields before crops are harvested. Growers will be able to find buyers for all of their harvest, eliminating food waste and increasing profits. Also, the yield monitoring method will help inform the year’s variety selection and yield.
Modern Greenhouses – It has been transforming from small-scale facilities to large-scale facilities. With the tremendous recent developments in technology, the agriculture industry is witnessing a blossoming like no time before. Modern greenhouse systems are emerging increasingly in large-scale industries. As the market has grown dramatically, it has experienced clear trends in recent years. Modern greenhouses are increasing day by day.
Diversification of Agriculture – Agriculture is not only meeting the food grains demand but also other needs of growth. Agricultural has been diversified to produce commercial crops and horticultural crops and floricultural products like flowers, and orchids, etc., dairy and other animal husbandry products. Also, the demand for these products has been increasing. Liberalization of the economy has created ample scope for the agricultural sector’s growth in terms of increased production and trade.
Data Integration – Data management software will allow growers to leverage this data to inform their decision-making. Also, this data can be used in real-time to make adjustments such as altering planting depth based on available moisture.
Increasing Trend in Horticultural Output – The diversity of climate conditions and soil characteristics enables the growth of a large variety of horticultural crops which includes fruits, vegetables, spices, cashew-nut, coconut, cocoa, root, and tuber crops, areca-nut, medicinal and aromatic plants, etc. With the increase in the production of fruits, vegetables, and other types of horticultural products, the value of exports of these products is also increasing.
Livestock Farming Technology – Livestock farming technology involves the business of poultry farms, dairy farms, cattle ranches, or other livestock-related agribusinesses. This method can come in the form of nutritional technologies, genetics, digital technology, and more. Sensor and data technologies have many advantages for the current livestock industry. It can improve the productivity of livestock by carefully detecting sick animals and intelligently recognizing room for improvement. Computer vision mainly allows us to have all sorts of unbiased data that will get summarized into meaningful, actionable insights.
Augmenting Hybridization – The use of hybrid seeds enables better adaptation in unfavorable soil and climatic conditions like saline soils and rain-fed ecosystems.
Precision Agriculture – Temporal variability of the field leading to the field areas with common characteristics and these are called management zones. Management zones can also be used to apply the appropriate inputs to achieve the best management to increase profitability and reduce environmental impact. The precision agriculture method has been extremely popular in the past few years.
Farm Automation – Farm automation is also associated with “smart farming”. It makes farms more efficient in the crop or livestock production cycle. Robotics working companies are increasingly developing some techniques like drones, autonomous tractors, robotic harvesters, automatic watering, and seeding robots.
Vertical farming– Vertical farming means where plants, animals, and other life forms are cultivated for food, fuel, fiber, or other products. The advantages are numerous in vertical farming. Vertical farming can be located inside repurposed warehouses, greenhouses, or other buildings that would not be suitable for large-scale farming. It offers many benefits like crops can be grown on a smaller area of land; water can be recycled and used over and over again. Vertical plants grow on minerals and do not need soil. Many agriculture products can be harvested more than once per year.
Agricultural Exports – Another important future trend of agriculture under liberalization is the increasing volume of agricultural exports and its increasing prospects in near future under the World Trade Organization regime. India is placed in respect of agricultural exports as the agricultural sector is subjected to low import content, low cost of labor, favorable climatic conditions, and low unit cost of inputs. Agricultural exports are playing an important role in expanding the agricultural sector activities along with generating an increasing number of employment opportunities and also in diversifying agricultural operations.
Drone Farming – Drones are used in farming to provide more frequent, cost-effective remote monitoring of crops and livestock. The use of drones in the agriculture sector is an effective approach to sustainable agricultural management that allows farmers to help streamline their operations to gain effective insights into their crops. The technology can be effective following natural disasters, such as a flood, to help growers to assess damage across terrains that could not be readily accessible on foot.
Artificial Intelligence – AI is an emerging technology in the agriculture field. These types of sensors can detect and target weeds and then decide which herbicide to apply within the region. Some examples of AI in the agriculture sector are driverless tractors, smart irrigation, and fertilizing systems, smart spraying, and AI-based robots for harvesting are farmers can get the work done without having to hire more people.
Some of the future trends in agriculture that are prominent in the post-liberalization period include the rising productivity, diversification of the sector, development of horticulture, application of modern methods, a growing volume of exports, and development of the food processing industry.
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