The agriculture and farming sector is one of the oldest sectors in the world. Humanity has come a long way over the millennia in how we farm and grow crops with the introduction of various technologies. As the world population continues to grow and land becomes scarcer, people need to get more creative and become more efficient about how we farm, using less land to produce more crops and increasing the productivity and yield of those farmed acres.
Agriculture is a USD 5 trillion industry globally, and now the industry is turning to digital technologies, so market players, including agri-tech start-ups can leverage next generation technology like data digitisation and data platforms, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), internet of things (IoT) and many more, to help yield healthier crops, control pests, monitor soil and growing conditions, organise data for farmers, and improve a wide range of agriculture-related tasks in the global food supply chain.
Adoption of technology in agri-tech (agriculture) is helping in solving several pain-points across the spectrum of the traditional agriculture value chain and presents a market potential of USD 24 billion.
Let’s see how the agri-tech start-ups are transforming the way agriculture is traditionally being done across all stages of the value chain.
Innovation in Agriculture
Advancements in agriculture technology (agri-tech) offer precise solutions for sustainable farming that includes indoor vertical farming, hydroponic farming, and modern greenhouse practices. These practices are set to redesign the farming experience with myriad benefits. They produce healthier, fresh, and more nutritious food that has a longer shelf life. These practices also help in saving valuable water, land, and labour resources. Additionally, the controlled growing system enables farmers to produce food free from harmful chemicals and residue.
Complementing Consumer Preferences
Consumption patterns have been changing. People are becoming more aware of eating healthy and fresh. Besides, the pandemic has also encouraged consumers to change their dietary habits and consume food that helps prevent infections and build strong immunity against infections.
The techniques of ultra-modern tech farming optimize crop production and quality and offer food safety all year round. They are grown in nutrient-rich water pesticides, harvested a few hours before it reaches the customer’s plate. This has strengthened the power of making good choices and brought in a behavioural change to create a healthier food system.
Use of Technology
The growth in the adoption of advanced technology solutions in agriculture is revolutionising the sector. By using the smart farming model, traditional farming is gradually transitioning to urban modern tech farming. It allows producing differently using new techniques that increase food production and efficiencies in the food supply chain by integrating automated technologies and processes. It becomes easier to meet the burgeoning demand of the population.
Considering the changing scenario of traditional farming and technological advances, both farmers and agri-tech start-ups have started adopting indoor vertical and hydroponic farming techniques. These are highly data-driven and combine agriculture with science to grow safe and healthy food in less time. These also enable the farmers to manage growth factors and optimize their field for better produce.
Moreover, the sector has reached a stage where robots and AI have started to contribute more, at a faster clip to the agricultural landscape than anyone saw coming. Recently, promising vertical farming start-ups like Plenty AI, San Francisco-based agri-tech start-up, have become known for pushing the boundaries of farming towards the sky figuratively.
Plenty AI produces 400 times more food per acre than a flat farm. The beauty of vertical farms is that they can be placed anywhere indoors, making them critical in a time where farmable land is on the decline. This agri-tech start-up intends to branch out to opening vertical farms across the world, and it has already received an investment capital of USD 400 million from several leading firms like Amazon, Google, and SoftBank.