The food industry transformation can do a lot to help in fighting climate change. Today’s world is on the brink of a precipice: growing population means we need to produce more food, but increased food production entails biodiversity loss and accelerated climate change.
In fact, modern food systems are the most extensive production line in the world. They produce enough greenhouse gases to warm the planet above 1.5°C. The approach to food production has undergone many changes. In the beginning, experts assumed that some part of nature would inevitably be destroyed in an attempt to feed the population, resulting in alarming rates of environmental degradation directly caused by food production.
Now professionals are thinking of ways to produce food without harming the planet. Efficient farming, using existing arable land instead of deforestation, and sustainable intensification are scientifically proven ways to do so. Despite this, the threat continues to grow because food production has already done so much damage that there is no point playing a neutral game. Instead, it’s time to explore ways to produce food that not only doesn’t destroy the planet but restores it.
One way to transform food production and its impact on the environment is to reduce food loss and waste. It is now believed that more than a third of all food produced is wasted before it reaches the market or is discarded at home. And that is the issue of ineffective production and supply chains. Food producers need to implement new ways of field management: monitoring crop health, predicting frost losses, planning field work, utilizing modern equipment such as the use of a high quality custom conveyor belt and more. Agricultural equipment like Hydraulic Hitch, 4 in 1 buckets, and Motor Graders should also be put into use. In addition, Crop Spraying should also be prioritized to protect crops.
Transformative AgriFood Tech
Over the past two decades, there has been a considerable increase in investment in agribusiness, particularly in the food technology sector. While the potential of many areas of the industry has not yet been realized, there is no doubt that we see a boom in investment and talent, driving unprecedented growth in the number of companies in the ag and food technology sectors.
The rapid growth in financing and the development of agri-food technologies is also the recognition of agriculture and food as sectors that significantly impact climate change. It is worth noting that investors and consumers are becoming increasingly demanding operators in the value chain, which speaks of responsible production and consumption to increase sustainability. This trend is expected to significantly impact technology adoption and investment in agribusiness (and food tech) for decades to come.
We can say that startups developing agri-food technologies, first of all, contribute to solving the following problems:
- Food waste
- CO2 emissions
- Chemical residues and effluents
- Labor shortage
- Lack of transparency in supply chains and inefficient resource management
- Lack of security and control of food chains
- Minimum efficiency and profitability of farms
- Unsustainable meat production.
The agri-food sector is universal, and the results of the agrifood tech sector affect every inhabitant of the planet, without exception, regardless of the country of residence and/or level of income. The problems that the sector is currently facing are solvable, and here cooperation and effective interaction between the state and business and all interested parties – investors, experts, innovators – are essential.
Technological advances can improve production efficiency while reducing the environmental impact per unit of food produced via:
- Increased yields to reduce the need for additional arable land
- Improved water management for better use of rainwater
- Changes to irrigation done by a reputable irrigation company, fertilization, and cropping to reduce emissions.
Solutions are Critical
Agri-food tech solutions are transforming the entire food production chain. The first stages are distinguished by high science intensity and increased cost of development. That is why the widespread use of technologies for the production of raw materials and materials in the industry will begin no earlier than in ten years. Technologies in distribution and consumption are developing at a much faster pace.
What vital technological trends do experts define as the most promising? First, it is smart (precision) agriculture. A new stage of digitalization of the industry will meet the growing need for food in compliance with the requirements of sustainable development.
Smart farming is a connected system of sensors, unmanned equipment, and software that optimizes farm processes at every stage. Any of the stages is subject to analysis using the “numbers” (vegetation indices, temperatures, moisture levels). Today, agriculture is already implementing smart monitoring of crops, soil moisture, and the sufficient use of fertilizers via the VRA approach. Remote monitoring of large areas is carried out using drones or satellite imagery.
For the digitalization of the industry to continue at such a steady pace, two conditions are necessary: building and expanding a sustainable data infrastructure and raising awareness among farmers about the benefits and features of the implementation of smart agricultural systems. Farmers who had applied under the Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana can now receive their PM Kisan Money Installment Check.
Implementing agri-food tech will require the involvement of all parties, from farmers to politicians, from individuals to enterprises’ leaders. We are at a turning point in terms of food production. If we continue on the path we have been on, we could bring the doom of the planet. But if we make positive changes, we will start a series of movements that could revolutionize the food industry and make it as climate-resilient as possible.