STORY INLINE POST
Given climate change and the continuous growth of the world population (we have more than 8 billion people as of Nov. 15), guaranteeing access to food is an increasingly difficult challenge. Therefore, technological solutions are essential to achieve a more sustainable and efficient use of natural resources.
Technology is a great ally for agriculture, since it allows it to increase crop productivity; more careful management of resources; reduces workload and costs; and allows the farmer to increase his income.
Today, for example, it is increasingly common to see the use of drones to fumigate or spread seeds in the fields. But how did we get to this point? The transition has not been easy, it has implied a lot of learning and, of course, also mistakes.
With the world’s population now at 8 billion people, It is important to create awareness that there is only a limited amount of arable land on the planet, 1.6 billion hectares, and it is capable of generating food for 9 billion people with current technologies. Consider that:
Agricultural development is one of the most important means of ending extreme poverty, boosting shared prosperity and feeding a population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.
We have reached 8 billion in 2022 and this means paying more attention to the challenges that exist in the agricultural sector to strengthen this industry that feeds all the inhabitants of this world.
Let's work together so that the growth rate of agricultural productivity reaches optimal levels and we produce food in a sustainable way for a world population that is growing rapidly.
Early Agricultural Technologies
The origin of agriculture dates back more than 10,000 years before our era, during the Neolithic period. Cultivating the land as the basis for producing food transformed the lives of humans, since it allowed them to settle and form populations. The first instruments they used were the hoe and the ax.
By 4,000 BC, human beings had implemented the first steps of the mechanization of agriculture. They began to use animals to plow the land.
In the 20th century, the tractor was a decisive innovation. The first country that began to use it was the US, in 1910, but gradually it spread throughout the world. In 1950, the tractor was very popular in Japan and Europe. Currently, it is most used in Asia.
After 1970, digital technologies began to disrupt agriculture. Gradually, precision tools that managed animals through electronic identification began to be used as sensors for livestock. In addition, digital tools emerged that facilitated agricultural mechanization, such as machinery with satellite navigation systems that allowed automatic guidance of tractors and fertilizer spreaders.
Agricultural drones have been one of the most important innovations in recent years. For example, with fumigation, they allow the farmer to avoid contact with toxic materials in addition to better supplying his inputs.
Digital automation in agriculture has begun to have diverse applications, from smartphones with various sensors and high-resolution cameras to crop robots, combined with virtual reality and remote sensing.
Responsible Technological Change?
As with any change, risks must always be considered. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), automation in agriculture must be designed and adapted to the conditions of each region, otherwise it could jeopardize the sustainability of the processes.
"If automation is rapid and not adjusted to local socio-economic and labor market conditions, labor displacement may indeed occur," says FAO in its latest "State of World Agriculture" report.
For example, one of the consequences could be that if only large agricultural producers have access to automation, small producers run the risk of worsening inequalities, a situation we must avoid altogether.
"Saying no to automation is not the way forward. FAO truly believes that without technological advances and increased productivity, there is no chance of freeing hundreds of millions of people from poverty, hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. We must ensure that automation is done in a way that is inclusive and promotes sustainability," the UN agency said.
One of the main conclusions reached by the FAO report is that automation in agriculture "can increase the productivity of farm labor and the profitability of farmers. It can also improve working conditions and generate new opportunities for entrepreneurship in rural areas, which could be particularly attractive to rural youth.”
At Verqor, we are certain that technology is the means that farmers need. Our digital platform is an ally to close the gap and bring more farmers technology assets, allowing them to access higher revenues and a greater well-being.