Investments in the agri-tech sector increased from almost $50 billion in 2015 to $430 billion in March 2020. Below are a few of the factors driving this shift.
1. Reduced costs
With thin profit margins, the agricultural industry needs to drive efficiencies and lower costs. Reducing headcount is a good place to start since manual labor often accounts for as much as 50% of a farm’s total costs.
2. Addressing farm labor shortages
The number of hired farmhands declined by 52% between 1950 and 2000. Today, farmers under the age of 35 account for just 9% of the total population. The growing labor shortage means farmers are struggling to keep up with consumer demand and are wasting produce.
3. Addressing food shortages
Agricultural production must increase by at least 70% to cater to a projected global population of 9.7 billion people by 2050.
4. Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
Automation technologies help farmers reduce waste and lower their use of pesticides and fertilizer.
5. Increasing efficiency
Automation augments the role of the farm worker, making daily tasks quicker to complete and far less labor-intensive. Not only does this make for a less arduous working environment, but it’s also safer, reducing instances of injury.
6. Data-driven decision making
Robust crop monitoring and data analytics can inform important farming decisions, including when and where to sow seeds, when to harvest, and how to store crops. Better data management also enables farmers to optimize their yields when faced with adverse weather, drought, pests, and disease.
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