March 15, 2023
In the face of a growing population and food shortages caused by climate change, we need to produce more food and find ways to grow and distribute it more efficiently.
According to the United Nations, by 2050, the world population will be around 10 billion people, up from 7.6 billion today. This unprecedented population explosion is expected to put further pressure on already scarce resources and increase the demand for food and water.
One industry that is well-placed to help address these challenges is agri-tech. Digital agriculture, for example, has had an immediate impact on farmers' productivity. With the growing demand for food products worldwide, Agri-tech startups are making it possible for farmers to increase their yields while maintaining healthy plants in less time and for less cost.
In Indonesia, agriculture is a significant sector, driving economic growth in various ways. In 2020, primary agricultural production contributed 13.7 percent to its gross domestic product. For decades, the agricultural industry has employed the most workers, and the country remains the world's largest producer of plantation crops–a major contributor to its export earnings.
In recent years, Indonesia has taken steps to modernize its agricultural sector through agri-tech. These efforts have been made possible by government policies and programs, the proliferation of agri-tech startups, and wide access to digital products. However, while these initiatives have helped increase productivity and improve the sector's competitiveness, there is still so much room for improvement.
In this post, we explore the benefits of some of the major agricultural technologies and modern farming techniques to help you put things into perspective.
Many different technologies have helped transform agriculture into the machine-driven industry it is becoming today in developing countries. From Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the Internet of Things (IoT), agri-tech startups and big tech companies are manufacturing tools and resources to help smallholder farmers improve their production efficiency and profitability.
The following list includes some of the most innovative technologies in agriculture and their uses:
AI has the potential to revolutionize every aspect of farming, from crop management to sales and distribution. It can hugely impact farmers' interactions with crops, stakeholders in the value chain, and even consumers. With a tool like Jiva's AgriCentral app, we can see how farmers use AI for everything from soil analysis to crop yield prediction.
Thanks to AI-powered pest control, farmers can also manage crop health better. This technology helps them track the health status of their crops and identify what needs to be done to keep crops healthy. For example, Trapview's pest control devices identify pests and predict their spread. This information alerts farmers to take action before an infestation occurs.
Drones equipped with cameras are now used for aerial surveys to get real-time information on crop conditions and soil quality. Through aerial photography, these drones can also be used for monitoring irrigation systems and determining the water requirements of different crops at different stages of growth.
The data collected through drone technology is sent back to farmers' smartphones or computers, allowing them to take action where necessary.
Drones have also become a livestock farming technology as farmers can now monitor their livestock using drones. In addition, they can track their herd in real time using GPS tracking. This helps them to protect their cattle from predators, diseases, or other environmental threats.
Farmers use this type of tech-driven market to buy seeds, fertilizers, and other inputs required for farming activities. Farmers can access these markets through mobile phones or computers, allowing them to buy directly from manufacturers at lower prices than those offered by local shops or traders. This reduces costs significantly as no middlemen are involved in the transaction process.
Robotics is another technology being used in agriculture today. Robots are used for tasks such as spraying pesticides on crops, weeding fields and milking cows. Robots can be programmed to perform repetitive tasks at an affordable cost compared to human labor costs.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology where devices can connect to each other and exchange data via the internet. It has been used in agriculture to help farmers gather data on their crops and livestock. This includes gathering temperature data from sensors embedded in livestock pens, soil moisture levels from soil probes placed in fields, and rainfall information from weather stations. Smart irrigation systems, for example, use sensors that monitor soil moisture levels and transmit them back to the user's smartphone so they know when to water their plants or feed their livestock.
Blockchain technology has proven to be effective in tracking food supply chains and ensuring that food is safe for consumption. In 2017, for example, Walmart partnered with other global food supply chain companies to use blockchain technology to track agricultural products and payments during distribution.
Aside from solving payment issues, blockchain-enabled technology now allows Walmart to identify contaminated products quickly before it reaches consumers. This proactive measure mitigates any potential health or business-related damage caused by contamination.
GPS technology has been used for decades to help farmers plan their crops and manage their land. But now, GPS systems are becoming even more sophisticated with the emergence of farming software such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
GIS software is an efficient tool for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing spatial data. Farmers can use this tool to map their land plots and determine the best areas for planting crops. They can as well use it to track the progress of their produce from season to season.
There are also GPS-enabled tractors that allow farmers to accurately pinpoint their location on the field, record data, and get real-time information about soil moisture levels. This helps them make better-informed decisions about when to plant seeds or apply fertilizers.
Satellite imagery is used by growers to monitor crop growth and detect pest infestations. Modern satellite imagery can be taken in resolutions as high as 5cm per pixel, which means it can detect small changes in plant health or disease development. This type of imaging makes it easier for agriculturalists to identify larger-scale issues like land degradation or deforestation.
Data from different sources, such as weather forecasts, satellite images, and soil conditions, can now be merged into one dataset using advanced data analytics techniques such as machine learning algorithms. Farmers can use this information to make better decisions about crop selection and fertilizer application during the planting season.
One way to grow more food with less land is vertical farming — growing plants indoors in stacks or rows, on racks or shelves instead of in traditional fields.
Vertical farms use LED lights rather than sunlight as an energy source and require no pesticides or fertilizers, thanks to controlled conditions inside the building where they're located. These farms also employ hydroponic systems where plants are grown in nutrient-rich water instead of soil, so they don't need pesticides or herbicides.
Modern agriculture is a complex, highly mechanized industry that relies on advanced technology to produce the food, fiber, and fuel we need to survive. It involves various activities, such as precision agriculture, Automatic Milking Systems, and automated irrigation systems. Let's explore some oth modern agricultural techniques.
Precision agriculture uses various techniques and technologies to improve agricultural production. It includes GPS-guided tractors and automated harvesting equipment, chemical sensors for monitoring soil conditions, and microsensors for analyzing plant health. The goal of this crop management technique is to reduce the waste of resources by optimizing the use of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides.
Farming has become more difficult due to the effects of climate change, like floods, droughts, etc. Farmers face many problems during these times, including crop damage due to lack of water or nutrients in the soil. These negative effects could be remedied if irrigation technologies are installed on farms to irrigate crops automatically according to weather conditions. No farmer would need water manually from wells or ponds nearby.
AMS is a modern farming techniques that helps farmers milk cows efficiently. It involves the use of robots in the form of milking machines, feeders, and milk coolers. AMS is easy to operate and saves time by helping farmers milk cows faster than they do manually. In fact, one study shows that AMS can increase milk production by 10%. This means that farmers can produce more milk from their herds and sell more products with higher profits.
Modern tools such as remote sensing devices can help farmers monitor conditions in their fields and make better decisions about when to apply pesticides. Also, smart sprayer technology allows farmers to spray pesticides on their crops without lifting heavy equipment over long distances. This reduces their risk of injury while also saving time and energy.
One of the most significant advantages of agricultural technology is that it makes it easier to maintain steady crop yields over time. As mentioned earlier in this article, farmers can use agri-tech to monitor temperature, humidity, and soil conditions.
These technologies help them maintain a healthy environment for their plants or livestock, avoiding over-fertilizing or over-treating their crops or animals with chemicals that could harm them in the long run.
Agriculture has a significant impact on our environment. Soils are depleted, water quality is compromised, and air quality suffers from farm machinery emissions and pesticides. However, with the increasing focus on sustainable agricultural practices, farmers can reduce their environmental footprint by using technology that improves soil health, conserves water, and reduces chemical use.
Farmers can improve their work safety by using mechanical equipment that does not require them to be exposed directly to potentially dangerous substances.
The use of agricultural technologies also helps keep workers safer by reducing fatigue during long days spent in fields. Machines make it easier for everyone involved.
Water runoff from fields can pollute streams and rivers, causing harm to aquatic life and damaging water supplies for drinking and irrigation. Farmers are now using GPS guidance systems to help them determine when it's safe to work in certain areas without harming areas that need protection from soil erosion or runoff.
Agri-tech has enabled us to develop new crop strains that are resistant to pests and diseases. With these new strains, farmers can grow more crops per acre than ever before and produce healthier food for all.
Agri-tech has made farming more efficient and cost-effective. From GPS crop mapping software to automated tractors and drones, farmers have access to tools that help them efficiently use less land, water, and labor while producing higher yields per acre.
According to Food and Agricultural Organisation, the agricultural sector accounts for about 17 percent of GHG emissions. Agri-tech can help us reduce our environmental and ecological footprint by increasing food production while reducing water use, fertilizers, and pesticides. This can be mainly achieved through advanced control systems and sensors, which monitor weather and soil conditions in real-time.
The agricultural sector is a major force in the global economy. Driven by booming demand due to population growth, rising income levels, climate change, and urbanization, the sector is experiencing enormous changes on both the supply side and the demand side of the value chain. To help farmers reap the benefits of these changes, governments, corporations, and startups must introduce initiatives and develop new technologies to support smallholder farmers who are the backbone of the agricultural sector especially in developing countries.
At Jiva, we want to help farmers manage their farms efficiently, empower them to make better business decisions, and ultimately improve the quality of farm produce. We run a digital and physical ecosystem that consists of smallholder farmers, micro-collectors, agri-input retailers, factories, mobile applications (farmers + micro-collectors), and backend processes.
Our mobile apps, AgriCentral for India and Jiva for Indonesia, have made it easier for millions of farmers to do their jobs more effectively and earn a better income on their farm. Farmers can compare prices, share information about the weather, and ask other farmers for advice—all from their phones.