Digitization of Agriculture and Smart Farming - the Present Day Objective Reality
According to the latest news from The New Fork, the smart farming market is going to grow at an overwhelming CAGR exceeding 10% and will surpass 15 mln USD by 2024. In 2019 the startups in the sphere of agriculture have attracted 43% more in investment capital than the year before and this year the figures are still growing. Technological innovations are quickly hanging the productivity in the agricultural sector, and digital agriculture novelties are in heavy demand. No surprise Stfalcon cannot remain uninvolved, especially taking into consideration the fact that we have already been involved in Agtech projects.
We are sure that working together to implement new technologies we can make them available to those who need them the most! From the technological point of view, agriculture is ready for intense digitization though certain aspects of the digital age have reached it long ago. The adoption of the new technical solutions must help not only to increase efficiency but solve social and environmental problems as well.
Digital agricultural revolution
The experts already speak about agricultural digitization as about the «Fourth Industrial Revolution», or a «Digital Agricultural Revolution» which is going to be the newest shift helping to ensure that agriculture meets the needs of the global population. So let’s find out how digitization may influence the agricultural processes and what benefits it has.
The usage of technology in the past decade allowed the agrarians to considerably maximize harvests already, but the vital processes in farming still need optimization through automation and digitization.
Digitalization will change every segment of the agrifood chain. It’s essential to make the resource management throughout the system highly optimized, individualized, intelligent and predictive. Data-driven it should function in real-time in a hyper-connected way.
Not only supply chains should become traceable and coordinated at the most detailed level but also fields, crops and animals should be accurately managed. The ecosystems which will appear as a result will be highly productive and flexible, with greater food security, profitability, and sustainability. There exist plenty of solutions that facilitate sustainability maximization; one of them is precision agriculture. However, it requires going aside from the old manual approach.
At present, farmers can avoid plowing, fertilizing and sowing physically, they can automatically estimate the amount of the resources needed for every yield and not overspend the raw materials. It results in increased crops and improved sustainability, in the end, proving the significance of the digitization and its implementation, however, preparatory stages should be overcome first.
They are the following:
- Automation conceptualization —re-engineering of the labor-intensive processes.
- Capabilities utilizing in terms of harvest monitoring.
- Sensors installation — a fundamental aspect of maintenance equipment.
Though it’s a challenge requiring a systematic and holistic approach it will, in the end, result in sensitive benefits.
Conditions for a digital transformation
Speaking about the digital transformation of the agricultural sphere we can’t but mention the conditions that should shape it in different contexts:
- Basic conditions are the minimum ones, which should be observed to use technology. They are affordability, availability, connectivity, ICT in education and supportive policies programs and measures for digital strategies;
- ‘Enablers’) are —the factors facilitating technologies’ adoption further: internet usage, tech skills as well as agripreneurial and innovation culture support — hackathons, incubators, and accelerator programs.
Some examples of digitization in farming
An innovative app for farmers from farmers, which provides informational support and facilitates community formation. There are various user groups able to gain benefit from this solution and the content it offers.
The application provides the users with an opportunity to conveniently look through the reports and materials chosen according to their preferences and take data-driven decisions as to the sowing, watering, fertilizing, weeds control, etc.
The users can leave comments to the articles, follow the authors and their channels, like articles. What is important the app allows offline access, which is extremely convenient for the farmers at field.
AgriSync turned in a successful ag company from a startup launched about 5 years ago. The platform was created to help farmers and their workers cope with difficulties and troubleshoot problems in real-time. The service connects the users with technical specialists and consultants from different spheres using video connection. Thus, the adoption of new technologies, implementing new practices and biological advancement become simple and the cost of quality service delivery decreases due to one-touch access to expert advisors.
At the same time human expertise and technical support from experts are valued and have the greatest impact helping the farmers reach their full potential.
A startup in Sweden aimed at serving climate-dependent agrarians in tropics.
Partnering with agricultural input companies, Non-Governmental Organizations, development agencies, and mobile operators a weather forecasting company provides and disseminates location-specific weather forecasts for small-scale farmers accurate to a 3 sq.km. range. Above 220mln forecasts were sent since 2015 and Ignitia claims 84% of them are reliable.
A fintech startup from London has created an insurance platform to help farmers avoid financial risks caused by commodity price instability. It should make managing farming businesses easier and allow more accurate planning. Stable is a platform serving as a marketplace for crop volatility insurance purchases. The commodity investors in their turn can trade products not available on large exchanges, and do it in various geographic regions. This helps them diversify portfolios. The platform is going to expand into new geographies and spheres.
What prevents digitization from mass adoption
There are still certain factors that stop digitization of agriculture from gaining momentum. Most of them are subject to the two main aspects —lack of financial ability to adopt innovations at a due optimal rate and insufficient digital knowledge of farmers. Besides, lack of infrastructure and internet connection in certain remote rural areas should not be forgotten. Though access to computers and the internet has been increased yet about 3 billion people remain offline in such areas.
However, global digitization steps around the Earth at an overwhelming pace in recent years and these obstacles will surely be overcome in the nearest time. It’s better to have ready-made solutions by the moment.
Digital agriculture will not only allow farmers to take decisions based on real data but base them on what is happening in certain areas, not witnessed somewhere else or predicted. Besides, we have now all opportunities and tools to create a real dreamland with greater food security, profitability, and sustainability. Being always in line with innovations, our company is eager to have a finger in this pie as well. Do you have any ideas, let’s discuss.