Today we shall be looking at the top trends in agriculture. Bit by bit, we are seeing technological Innovations begin to transform every part of the food chain, in a bid to address the ever-increasing demand for food on a global scope. In the very developed nations, we have seen digital technologies and analytics make farm operations insight-driven, and actually more efficient. What is happening in the other parts of the world? Let us have a look at the most outstanding agricultural trends that you should keep your eyes open for:
An increase in population that has increased the demand for food
A report generated by UN FAO indicates that the global population may arise past the 10 billion Mark by 2050. This will translate to an increase in the demand for agricultural products by 50%, in comparison to 2013.
Generally, there has been an increase in demand for foods that contain proteins, fruits, and vegetables, which is something that is expected to continue over the years. All Farmers and investors should therefore build their strategies based on this information since the masses will continue demanding sufficient food.
A gradual decline in farm income
In 2017, farm profits hit a record 12-year low. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) made a prediction that farm profits would dwindle by about 6.7% (this represented a drop to $59 .5 billion). This would be the lowest since 2006.
The rise of digital-native consumers
There is an increase in the number of digital and tech-savvy consumers whose expectations that are based on digital-first industries are shaping the agricultural industry as a whole. Consumer tastes and preferences are gradually evolving, as has been seen with the millennial customers who are driving the demand for organic agricultural products, the creation of sustainable retail supply chains, as well as the commitment to zero deforestation.
The digital disruption and consolidation
Input retailers are under consistent pressure from the increasing consolidation arising from the seed and crop protection industry as well as the shifting demands coming from the digitally native consumers. The farmers are looking into increasing volume of the crops that are produced and delivered, as they counter highly volatile prices in the market. This has sparked digitization across the entire value chain as well as the expansion of in-house storage amongst most individual farmers, leading to a disruption in the fundamental business model.
The loss and wastage of food
UN FAO’s Research has shown that close to a third of all the food that is produced, which is an estimated 1.3 billion metric tons, goes to waste. This is despite the fact that 795 million people are not getting enough food to eat. Every year, the consumers in the wealthy Nations waste food that is close to the net food production in sub-Saharan Africa. Close to 222 million metric tons of food is wasted, in comparison to the 230 million metric tons of food that are produced in Africa.
Not forgetting that developing countries still have to deal with the lack of proper infrastructure to ensure the quick and efficient transportation of fruits vegetables and meat over long distances.
Robotics are getting better by the day, even as researchers keep exploring their viability across the entire agricultural value chain. We are seeing more robots being developed to cater to all the processes that happened between planting and harvesting, as well as the processing and grocery logistics. In 2017 for instance, John Deere spent about $305 million to acquire Blue River Technology, which is a start up firm that is known for the manufacture of robots that are capable of identifying the unwanted plants on the farm, and to spray them with high precision herbicides. There is also a greater demand in the entire world for robotics as a service, more so when it comes to the picking of fruits. By 2024, it is expected that the Agbot industry will be worth more than $5.7 billion, which is 5 times what this figure was in 2016.
There are many types of remote sensing techniques, including:
- Infield sensors
- satellite imagery
These are making it possible for farmers to view the crops in their farms from different perspectives. With there being advances in the computing world as well as that of sensor technology, farmers now have access to high-cadence, broad area coverage of the plants. This enables the Farmers to get information in real-time, hence making it possible for them to make changes right away.
Machine learning and Analytics
Machine learning along with advanced Analytics has become the backbone for the mining of data regarding trends in many sectors in the present-day world, with the agricultural industry being no exception. These techniques can be applied right before seed planting with the available plant breeders. Machine learning plays an important role in the prediction of traits and genes that are best for crop production, hence giving farmers sufficient information to choose the best breed for the location they are in, and the climatic conditions.
At the field level, they are machine learning techniques that rely on satellite data in a bid to distinguish between crops such as corn and soy, hence providing crucial information that is needed to facilitate crop insurance, logistics, as well as influencing the state of affairs in the commodity markets. The intersection that exists between robotics and data received from the ever-increasingly connected farms is expected to speed up this trend even more in the nearby years.
What Can farmers and investors expect in this decade? Access the detailed 4 part agriculture series to get a clear outline of the direction bona fide investors are taking.
I hope that you enjoyed this article about the top trends in the agriculture industry, and that it gave you a clear insight into how this industry is advancing. Such are the trends that you cannot ignore as a farmer or as an investor in this sector, since you can end up missing out on the big money opportunities. What should you do with this information? If you now want to make a money move, you should highly consider looking at the 4 part agriculture series that will guide you into what it is that you should do to see to it that you remain profitable even as other people in this industry sink. knowledge is power, they said, and we both know they were right!
I wish you well,
Eric, Investor and Team Member at Gold Retired!