With global population reaching 7.8 billion as of January 2021, the focus on sustainable farming and newer agricultural technologies continues to take center stage.
More than ever, agritech startups and traditional farmers are starting to employ the latest solutions and trends to improve production in the food value chain. This also includes embracing newer technologies such as cloud based solutions and other innovative agricultural management techniques to boost efficiency for farmers and yield higher crops.
Moreover, these efforts are also being made to drive agricultural innovation forward for farmers and mitigate the effects of climate change.
Here are the 5 latest innovations in agritech that can shape the future and growth of agriculture and food production.
When it comes to traditional farming models, the supply capacity is always entirely dependent on the availability and sustainability of land. In order to determine any future potential, there must be available data about the location or region’s compatibility with any agricultural prospects.
To address this need, the Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) has been developing continent-wide digital soil maps for sub-Saharan Africa. This new technology uses new analysis, statistics, field trials and even crowdsourcing to accurately determine a potential crop location’s data.
Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the ISRIC World Soil Information AfSIS project has also received support from several governments, stakeholders and academic institutions.
The new technology is poised to be made available real time via interactive maps on Google Earth.
Singapore has recently started growing its own supply of fruits and vegetables with the help of a tech-powered indoor vegetable farmstead. Supported by global electronics giant Panasonic, the farm, considered the country’s first licensed one of its kind, has allowed local production of rocket, radish and baby spinach.
This kind of innovation technology and partnership is also being embraced by other big names in the electronics industry: Sharp is producing strawberries in Dubai; Sony, Toshiba and Fujitsu are all using former clean-room facilities at semiconductor plants across Japan for lettuce production.
Another popular innovation in agriculture and farm management is the process of using Hydroponics and Aquaponics to bring together fish and plant farming in one system.
At the Bioaqua Farm at Blackford in Somerset – Europe’s largest integrated aquaponic farm – all greens are grown with the help of organic symbiosis along with Rainbow Trout. This organic symbiosis does away with any chemicals or pesticides but requires the assistance of bees and worms.
What happens is the fish provide most of the plant nutrition through the process of aquaculture effluent. In turn, the fish waste and metabolites are eliminated via nitrification and direct uptake by plants. The suitably treated water then flows back to the fish. This new farming idea and technology requires up to 95% less water than traditional horticulture farming.
One of the major trends and developments in agritech and yielding crops is improving water efficiency by way of solar power. Sundrop Farms in Australia draws on this renewable source by harvesting solar power to generate energy for desalination. This is then used to supply hydroponic greenhouses.
Considered a game changer for the agriculture industry, this technology requires no freshwater, farmland or even fossil fuels. Additionally, it has also created 300 jobs so far in Port Augusta, South Australia, proving to be a big win for sustainable farming.
Aside from medical deliveries and conservation support, drones are now being used in agriculture to improve how crops are grown, maintained and cultivated. As one of the best examples of innovation in agriculture, these aerial carriers are being used to evaluate crop conditions from afar all the way to executing precise fertilisation strategies for better yield.