Globally, the term "AgTech" has been coined to group together new emerging technologies applied to the agricultural sector. This concept includes 11 technologies that, according to projections by world experts in the field, will have a strong impact on the development of the agricultural sector, boosting the growth of its productivity.
Next, we will make a brief description of each one of them:
1 - Sensors, Big Data and Management Software
This Agtech relies on sensorization for monitoring agricultural variables or variables that influence the agricultural cycle, processing large volumes of information and a myriad of APP´s, so that farmers can make better decisions regarding the management of their crops.
Data-based agriculture, or smart agriculture, is already here and, in the near future, we can only hope that it will continue to evolve and improve the management of farmland.
2 - Robotics
Robots for agricultural applications worldwide have had an important development in recent years, from robots experts in processes of sowing, fertilization and phytosanitary care, to robots harvesters of strawberries, grapes and peppers. The use of robots allows to materialize the dream of a real precision agriculture, allowing relevant increases of yields, reduction of costs of productive inputs and labor.
Within the robot family, drones can be included, which are being used in agriculture for various functions; from the diagnosis of diseases to pollination processes, including livestock control and fire prevention. The drones are a technology whose price-performance ratio increases at accelerated rates, so it is to be expected that their use will also intensify.
3 - Self-contained tractors
This technology allows the farmer of a farm to control the tractor from a PC or Tablet, with simple instructions, programming their tasks so that it operates later independently, while the farmer can devote his time to other tasks of the farm. The operation of these tractors is based on real data collected autonomously by the tractor, through sensors or external systems, which allows them to make much more accurate decisions in real time, minimizing risks and costs.
4 - Biotechnology and Big Biological Data
Agricultural biotechnology is not exactly new in agriculture. Since ancient times, farmers have selected the best species, both animal and plant, which gave advantages in terms of production, quality and product quality. On the other hand, Biological Big Data allows genetic and molecular discoveries to be made on plant and animal species at an unprecedented speed. For example, the discovery of genes that directly intervene in specific biological processes of crops, increasing their resistance, improving their productivity and the quality of their fruits.
5 - Shared economy
The UBER phenomenon has reached agricultural machinery. Numerous platforms have emerged in Europe that allow farmers to rent machinery to other farmers for hours, days or weeks, when they are not using it.
A simple idea, which allows both parties to benefit: some because they get a return on their machine down, and others because they can incorporate technology into their crops without making large investments.
6 - Vertical farms for the "Smart City" of the future
This technology is based on the idea of transforming urban spaces, large cities, into high productivity orchards. These vertical, hyper-robotted and ultra-productive farms have been operating in Europe since 2016, proving that this idea is entirely feasible.
On the other hand, these farms are characterized by: low human labor, absolute control of all cultivation parameters, maximum food security, high technology and incredible productivity.
7 - Cellular agriculture and animal husbandry
Complementing the idea of vertical farms, arose the concept of a self-sufficient Smart City, where vertical farms put vegetables and laboratories animal protein.
This concept began to sound strongly when the German scientist Mark Post created the first "in vitro" hamburger in 2013. From here, numerous startups have arisen in the USA and Europe that have been launched to investigate how to produce meat and dairy products without resorting to livestock.
Cellular agriculture and animal husbandry are powerfully attracting the attention of investors from all over the world. In fact, companies such as Impossible Foods and Cultured Meat are already developing laboratory meat.
8 - Satellite technology
NASA is betting on satellite technology to predict droughts and thus help farmers, while the European Space Agency is developing applications based on the same technology to monitor agricultural droughts and predict harvests.
Numerous applications have been developed to combine NASA images and information with knowledge from other information sources, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The above, to offer substantial improvements in the predictions of the harvests in that country.
9 - Inputs and more natural agriculture
Biological control arises as an alternative to pesticides and chemical substances for pest control, mainly due to the fact that consumers in developed countries have begun to be environmentally aware and ask farmers for more natural and sustainable products.
This trend, in practice, translates into the substitution of chemical-based fertilizers by fertilizers of natural origin, developing natural solutions to combat pests, using substances present in nature or biological control.
10 - Agri-food eCommerce
One of the trends that has been developed with more strength and investment during 2016, is the agrifood ecommerce, where companies and start-ups generate sales portals and distribution chains that directly connect producers with end consumers. This makes it possible to reach consumers with fresh products at very competitive prices. In 2016, Amazon Fresh arrived in Europe to mark the new evolutionary step of the agrifood eCommerce.
11 - Traceability
Today's consumers want to know everything about the food they put in their mouths: who produced it, how it was produced, where it was produced, and so on. This information can only be provided if there is correct traceability. Therefore, more and more progress will be made in technologies that ensure this traceability.
Without a doubt, some of these technological trends observed in developed countries still sound like a dream for Chilean agriculture; however, there are interesting initiatives in precision agriculture, sensorization, big data and the use of drones at the local level. If these initiatives are able to show positive results, they will mark a path for the technification and modernization of our agriculture.
And I couldn't leave out the use of blockchain in agriculture.
Its implementation makes it possible to increase food security and, at the same time, the trust that exists between producers, distributors and consumers.
It can be be used to determine the nature of the soil and data will be collected vary to different season to know which crop to be grown at one particular point point in time and how it can be managed.
This question actually made me smile because I was thinking about it about a week ago so I guess I can answer it well. Agriculture is that field of life (pun intended) that seems the least bit involved with technology but in truth is as intertwined with it as things like phones and cars.
Let's have a look
1) bio engineering and genetics: many of the crops that we see now are very much different from what they originally used to be when they grew wild. Some of them had so little edible parts that it would take a hundred to fill a grown man. Crops like corn have been cultured and engineered to become what they are today. And that's thanks to technological advances.
2) cultivation of bacteria : a bacteria called Bacillus Thuringiensis serves as a reservoir and it makes crops insect resistant. And this in turn allows the crops to grow without disturbance from pests.
3) drought resistance: it is possible to grow crops in the desert now. This is something that would have seemed next to impossible a few decades ago. But it is possible because with technology, man has been able to produce crops that are capable of resisting drought and growing even in the most arid of regions. And even if they weren't drought resistant, there's irrigation methods now that are better than ever so let's say options are plenty.
3) machines: with machines, man is able to plough his fields faster and better, transport them quicker, store them better and generally speed up all processes on the farm.
Honestly I could keep on going but I think you get the point. Technology is as important to agriculture as it is to any other sector.
Manfaat yang dapat diperoleh dari kegiatan aplikasi teknologi informasi dan komunikasi (Mulyandari 2005), khususnya dalam mendukung pembangunan pertanian berkelanjutan adalah:
1. Mendorong terbentuknya jaringan informasi pertanian di tingkat lokal dan nasional.
2. Membuka akses petani terhadap informasi pertanian untuk: 1) meningkatkan peluang-peluang pendapatan dan cara pencapaiannya; 2) Meningkatkan kemampuan petani dalam meningkatkan posisi tawarnya, dan 3) Meningkatkan kemampuan petani dalam melakukan diversifikasi usahatani dan merelasikan komoditas yang diusahakannya dengan input yang tersedia, jumlah produksi yang diperlukan dan kemampuan pasar yang sehat output.
3. Mendorong terlaksananya kegiatan pengembangan, pengelolaan dan pemanfaatan informasi secara langsung maupun tidak langsung untuk mendukung pengembangan pertanian lahan marjinal.
4. Memfasilitasi dokumentasi informasi pertanian di tingkat lokal (pengetahuan indigeneous) yang dapat digunakan secara luas untuk mendukung pengembangan pertanian lahan marjinal.
Teknologi Informasi Komunikasi adalah faktor yang sangat penting dalam mendukung peningkatan kualitas sumber daya manusia. Teknologi informasi memiliki tiga peran pokok:
Instrumen-instrumen dalam proses pengembangan, yaitu dengan memberikan informasi tentang manajemen dan pelayanan kepada masyarakat.
Produk dan jasa teknologi informasi merupakan komponen yang memberikan manfaat terbaik bagi dunia, bahkan dunia dalam bentuk produk dan industri telekomunikasi.
Teknologi informasi dapat menjadi perekat persatuan dan kesatuan, sistem pengembangan informasi yang menghubungkan semua wilayah dan seluruh wilayah nusantara.
Kesadaran Teknologi Informasi dan Komunikasi yang disebut ICT (Teknologi Informasi dan Komunikasi), tidak hanya monopoli yang besar tetapi juga bertumbuh di kalangan pengusaha kecil dan kekuatan-kekuatan masyarakat, seperti Koperasi, Kelompok Tani, dan Masyarakat biasa. Fungsionalitas penting dalam pengembangan bisnis, kelembagaan, dan juga mampu mendorong percepatan kegiatan ekonomi dan taraf hidup masyarakat.