The world’s appetite is changing, and the agriculture industry is struggling to keep up. Can technology help?
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the world will need to produce 70% more food in 2050 than it did in 2006 to feed the world's population of 9 billion. That means that production in the developing countries would need to almost double.
The balance between producing enough food and using efficient yet sustainable methods of doing so is one of the primary issues facing the world. The FAO stands by its Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) approach to farming, which involves “sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes; adapting and building resilience to climate change; and reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions, where possible.” To achieve these goals while also cutting their own costs for production, some farmers have started looking to the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things in Agriculture
Farming methods evolve as demands for agricultural products increase. The simple, traditional handheld tools used for farming before the Industrial Revolution eventually evolved into a more diverse set of devices. In the 1800s, fertilizers, grain elevators, and the first gas-powered tractor were created. In the 1900s, farmers eventually adopted satellites for better monitoring.
According to BI data, the United States currently leads the world in IoT smart agriculture. The US produces 7,340 kgs of cereal per hectare of farmland, compared to the global average of 3,851 kilograms of cereal per hectare. That number is, in part, thanks to the farmers’ use of drones, sensors, and smart tractors among others to track production and increase yields. These IoT device installations for agricultural purposes will increase from 30 million in 2015 to 75 million by 2020. The estimated amount of data points to be generated by a farm per day will reach approximately 3,500,000 by 2034, as compared to 250,000 in 2016.
Current Platforms for Smart Agriculture