The global population is predicted to reach 9.7 billion in 2050 and could peak at nearly 11 billion around 2100 new United Nations report and the demand for better quality and higher quantity is increasing remarkably. Meanwhile, agriculture is considered as the backbone of the many South Asian countries, which strives to support the livelihoods of the majority. Globally, there are changes in this field; since the expansion of civilisation, humans have found new ways to develop the process of farming, wanting to achieve the maximum output for years to come. Just so, the latest technology has fit itself into Agriculture as well, with the introduction of Agritech.
This technology enhances efficiency in the farming procedure to overcome the traditional challenges in the industry, while increasing productivity and output. Currently, there is steady growth of Agri startups which focuses on data analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics, to enable them to find sustainable and cost-effective methodologies to feed the growing population. Frankly, data is the main component here. IoT, satellite and drone imagery, weather data and historical yield data can be brought together to inform and speed up the decision-making process that will make farming more efficient.
Some of the most prominent uses of Agritech that are underway globally by Agritech Start-ups include :
An innovative IoT software has been developed, that can track weather conditions and provide accurate information about the quality and type of soil.
- Big data for food supply efficiency
Big data also informs high-level decision-makers on how to better manage food supply at national and regional levels.
Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture, which is a method of growing plants without soil, by instead using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent.
- Agricultural Biotechnology
Agricultural biotechnology helps in the development of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified seeds, which leads to an increase in the production of food.
- Novel Farming System
The agritech start-ups are developing new ways to carry out farming, including using less natural resources like land and soil, instead using indoor farms, vertical farming and growing products in greenhouses etc.
- Farm robotics
With the introduction of farm robots, farms will be operated using smart technology of artificial intelligence, by using robots.
- Drones used for scanning
Drones are used on Crop fields for scanning with compact multispectral imaging sensors, GPS map creation through onboard cameras, heavy payload transportation, and livestock monitoring with thermal-imaging camera-equipped drones.
- Trading Market Places
There are new mediums for farms and suppliers to correspond, which includes, via apps and websites, rather than the traditional face-to-face mode.
Although with limited publicity, many start-ups are working hard on building innovative solutions to face the challenges associated with the agriculture sector in order to improve traditional forms of agriculture and farming.
Yet, the question lies, is South Asia lagging behind in this area?
Yes, thus, it is imperative that such methods are used predominantly in the South Asian countries, which are agrarian societies, where a majority of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. Thus, it is important to create awareness of the benefits of agritech and motivate stakeholders to enhance Agritech in the South Asia region and encourage individuals to come forward with their innovative ideas. Moreover, by creating awareness, it would indirectly motivate students to pursue studies in the Agritech industry (eg. Bachelors in Agricultural Technology & Innovation, Masters in Agricultural Technology etc), so that they can be valuable assets to the industry.
It is believed that, with the expansion of Agritech in the long run, people in general, will have enough and more to eat and lead a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Therefore, let us work collectively for a better tomorrow.