The agricultural industry is expected to make huge strides over the coming years as technological advances aimed at growing yields and preserving food take effect. According to an article published by Business Insider on October 7, the future of agriculture will be shaped by Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Smart farming. The development is coming at a time when feeding the growing world population is proving ever challenging. A report released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicates that crop yields must increase by 70% in 5 decades to effectively feed the world population in 2050. This is the reason why farmers, research entities and agricultural organizations are quickly turning to IoT, to gather analytics that will help boost yields.
It is important to note that technological transformation has been part and parcel of agriculture for many years. It all started with the discovery of hand held tools several hundreds of years ago, followed by the industrial revolution which saw the use of machines and more recently satellite technology. The uptake of IoT, like smart farming is expected to change a lot of things in the coming years. Some of the ways in which IoT will boost farming, include the use of field sensors to give farmers detailed maps that show the farmlands topography and resources alongside other pertinent information such as soil temperature and acidity. Farmers can also use this information to predict the weather and prepare farms. Today, Smartphone’s can also be used to monitor the farms and livestock remotely.
One smart farming technique that is also expected to change the fortunes of farmers is a new food preservation technique being tested in Santa Barbara, California. According to a report that was published in the New York Times on December 13, Apeel Sciences has come up with a technology that can extend the shelf life of food several times. The technique encourages the processing of leftover fresh plant materials such as stems and leaves to develop an imperceptible, edible barrier that can extend the shelf life of foods like berries and green beans up to 5 times over. This means a farmer can choose when to have his bananas ready for the market. These latest advances are all aimed at developing precision farming.