How Do Agro-Entrepreneurs Revolutionize Farming and Agriculture
Published on: 02.07.2020
Without the development of innovative-agriculture solutions, soon, farmers worldwide are likely to face more challenges than the crop they grow.
How to apply innovation in the fields? With a world population expected to surpass nine billion by 2050, and the ongoing problems posed by global warming, innovation on the fields or anyplace where food and crop might grow is a must.
Where to begin? Let’s start with the foundation of life: soil.
Soil and water management have been at the foundation of animal and plant-based food production systems from the early civilizations.
However, the way how humans have managed these two natural resources for agriculture purposes has often resulted in disruption to ecosystems.
Naturally, ecosystems change over time or suddenly due to phenomena such as floods or fires. If one species disappears because of the above-mentioned or similar factors, all the species in the food chain will be affected. Land use by humans has impacted ecosystems. Deforestation and forest degradation for agriculture purposes cause global warming. The latter has a huge impact on agriculture. Hence, agriculture is at the same time a contributor to climate change and a payer of its consequences.
Climate change presents more threats than opportunities in agriculture. Depending on the country or region risks include:
A decrease in crop production areas and crop quality
Soil erosion, desertification, and salinization
Increased risks of agricultural diseases, pests, and weeds
Loss of arable land due to sea-level rise
Deterioration of livestock conditions
One of the few opportunities would be the expansion in cultivation areas for crops that require warm climate such as citrus fruits, olives, and other tropical species always if there would be enough water resources. This would reduce the environmental impact of lengthy supply chains and the food waste caused in those supply chains.
Besides climate change and soil degradation, farmers face other challenges such as lack of access to markets and funds, lack of marketing, lack of labor force, lack of market data for forecasting, etc.
On the other hand, all those problems represent opportunities for entrepreneurs, biologists, and people from the tech sector. With the help of hardware and AI, it gets easier to monitor consumers’ attitude and to forecast food consumption. Thus, the farmer knows how much to produce while saving money and without creating waste. This principle is used by AquaByte, a startup that started in a bathtub prototype and turned into a software company that facilitates fish farming in Norway. The founders of AquaByte say that fish farming is more efficient than meat production both in terms of climate impact and feed factor. Yet, about five percent of the food humans eat comes from the ocean. Such innovations tap into the potential of solutions that have been there for a long time, but many of us failed or even refused to notice.
Lettus Grow is another agro tech startup that takes a different approach for the cultivation of crops, mostly leafy greens. The startup was founded with the purpose to tackle CO2 emissions, waste generation, ecosystem collapse, and food security. They use alternative farming methods like aeroponic systems in localized indoor farms near urban areas. They reduce the use of farmland and food waste and improve local food security.
Speaking about food waste, with startups like California Safe Soil nothing goes to waste. What they do is to get wasted food from supermarkets and transform it into a low cost but high-quality fertilizer for farmers. They say it is 720 times more efficient than composting. They aim to improve the quality of air, water, and soil while creating jobs and providing effective solutions for the needs of customers. Thus you can help meet SDG 2 and Target 2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.
What these startups share in common is their approach to soil management and their efforts to keep it healthy, while meeting customers’ demand sustainably.
Remember that innovation in agriculture and every other sector does not require the latest technology or hardware. Given specific contexts, anyone can think about a different way to use existing resources more efficiently and sustainably.