Technology meets Agriculture: Digital revolution in the industry

Anyone who knows me well will not doubt my passion for technology. When you think technology in the context of agriculture, several people will readily think of the farm machinery, irrigation equipment and probably even inputs such as improved seeds, fertilizers, chemical protection, etc. However, I am thinking differently now, especially for those who think their passion for digital technology makes them incapable of exploiting opportunities in Agriculture.

In recent times, several agriculture firms have been investing in technology to help make smarter decisions. Monsanto purchased The Climate Corporation which mines data to produce valuable insights and information as recommendation to farmers. It could be as basic as when they should plant or if they should treat their crops earlier than planned. These sort of information usually proves helpful to farmers. In 2014, more venture firms started backing Ag Focused technologies, with CNBC reporting that over $250m was spent in Q3 2014 on Agriculture and Food sub sector investment. 50% of that investment went into precision hardware and Food Logistics & Safety.

If you think about this, as the need for protein increases both from a rising income and population increase point of view, the pressure on land, water increases. We have to seek ways to get more from less. While the agriculture R&D firms need to continue to research how to do this from a biological point of view, the world of technology could also rise to the challenge to empower farmers to make the appropriate use of the stretched resources. How would it be if farmers could better predict the climatic conditions or get quicker insight on observed pest on their field and acting accordingly or get better visibility on commodity prices at the point of sales or map their fields and get advice on what the fertilizer requirement of the different portions of the land would be.

It would ensure that the already limited resources are used more efficiently and farmers are putting their money exactly where it is needed. The needs differ between developing and developed countries but ultimately, technology has a major role to play in the transformation of the Agriculture industry over the next few years.

I will write next on one of the projects proposed in the LAKAJI Corridor assessment that explores the role of technology in the sector within the context of a developing country.

(Feel free to comment below on other areas where you see technology playing a key role in Agriculture revolution especially in developing countries)

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