The Dirt on Modern Farming
The evolution of farming has come a long way, from a farmer using a horse to pull a plow through their fields to artificial intelligence-powered machines doing that same task today. Agricultural development is one of the most powerful mechanisms to end extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity, and feed 10 billion people by 2050. To maintain and provide for our growing populations, we must modernize, optimize, and streamline our current agricultural practices. Many factors have led to technology changing the face of farming. Still, the modernization of farming is an inevitable future to tackle the ever-changing challenges faced within the industry.
In less than 30 years, the world population is expected to grow by 2 billion, which means converting to sustainable food production is essential for our future. Currently, our global food production system is unsustainable and will not accommodate the expected growth of our global population. Smallholder farmers are often overlooked as a solution to increase food production globally significantly, yet, if given the correct tools, they may be the key we need to succeed. Typically, smallholder farmers use 80 percent of their yield to feed their families and are left with 20 percent to sell and make a profit. If these farmers have ways to increase their yields and sell more than just 20 percent, it would benefit their families and significantly impact the global food supply. Some technologies can drive the necessary change in agriculture, from IoT sensors and satellites to drones, and Blockchain. However, these technologies are often expensive and complicated to use, which deters smallholder farmers from using them. Therefore, there is a need to make these innovative technologies accessible to farmers to increase their yields and transform their farming practices.
How does technology optimize modern farming?
Despite how far our farming methods have come, currently, we are struggling to keep up with our global needs. Today, Blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), satellite data, remote sensing, mobile access, drones, and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, are all becoming more and more common in everyday farming. This technology helps farmers reach our global needs in more efficient ways through improving yields, reducing overall cost, and mitigating potential risks.
Blockchain technology is an immutable record or transaction that can optimize and track assets. For example, Blockchain in agriculture can collect seed quality information, monitor crop growth, track and store vet records, or track yields from farm to store. It also streamlines financial and insurance-based needs. In addition, track and trace is used for document flow, making it easier to export to international markets and seeing where bottlenecks are in their supply chain process, and making decisions in real-time with real-time reporting.
Satellite data is a highly cost-effective tool in agriculture. It surveys and assesses agricultural land and provides invaluable insights for farmers and even governments. For example, satellite data can measure; how fertile a farmer’s soil is, predict weather patterns, monitor livestock rotation, and geofencing. Furthermore, satellite data is coupled with other relevant data to achieve more accurate and diverse information that farmers can use to understand their land better and improve farm management practices. For example, Remote sensing analyzes satellite data and data from other sources like soil sample analysis, IoT sensors, drones, weather stations, and farmer surveys to estimate conditions like soil fertility and predict weather patterns.
Mobile technology in agriculture is an excellent tool because it is an efficient and cost-effective way to share and exchange valuable data and knowledge widely and increase communication for farmers. Some shareable examples of information are market prices, reports on best management practices for pests, or forecasted weather conditions.
Drones and IoT sensors survey and analyze the soil in the field, and generate real-time data, which helps farmers improve their soil and crop management while simultaneously increasing their yields. Drones can significantly reduce labor costs because they can accurately assess and transmit anything impacting farm productivity. Additionally, IoT sensors can mount onto drones for additional agriculture monitoring.
Artificial intelligence (AI) performs predictive analytics and allows farmers to collect and process more data. For example, AI can improve the accuracy of planting, harvesting dates, recognizing diseases, pests, or poor nutrients in crops, detecting any weeds growing in fields, and which herbicide to apply.
Adapting to climate threats
Climate change has a significant impact on the livelihood of smallholder farmers and is one of the leading causes why these farmers need AgTech solutions. For example, farmers constantly adapt to temperature and weather changes that no longer support their crops. Technology can mitigate those risks by predicting weather patterns and providing farmers with actionable data to make smarter and more sustainable decisions.
How is farming being modernized?
Technology is being adopted by more and more people every day, and the more farmers gain access to technology, the faster we are moving to modernized and sustainable farming practices. Dimitra aims to deliver agriculture technology to 100 million farmers worldwide over the next five years and make a concrete and tangible difference in the global food supply chain. The Dimitra platform provides advanced technologies to farmers and these technologies provide actionable recommendations which can positively impact the outputs on their farms. Dimitra is a solution that may help break the cycles of poverty and food insecurity and enrich farmers’ local economies through these increases in their crop yields if applied across villages, communities, and regions. Dimitra is conscious of the uncertain future we face. We’re committed to meeting these challenges head-on with a mission to make a difference by increasing farming productivity, implementing more sustainable farming practices, and improving soil quality globally.