What is Agritech and how it disrupts the business landscape?

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What is Agritech and how it disrupts the business landscape?

Know the insights of Agritech

When we think about technology, we think of machines, robots, artificial intelligence, mobile technology, computers, clouds, and future problems related to technology-war between the countries. But what if the future issues are far more basic than all of the above? All related to the scarcity of resources, food, and increased population.

According to a release of the United Nations, With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, a new technology branch needs to be developed to innovate for feeding the growing population.

Welcome to the world of Agritech!

What is AgriTech or Agricultural Technology?

Image Source: theindianwire.com

Agritech or agriculture technology refers to the use of technical innovations in the field of agriculture to increase its productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

It involves using technology for faster plantation of crops, modified and qualitative crops that grow well in a different atmosphere, and harvesting. We can also use robots, data analysis, Artificial Intelligence, or any necessary methods to solve the difficulties that the agricultural industry is facing.

Which brings us to –

The difficulties that currently bother the agricultural industry.

Agricultural Challenges

The agriculture industry is facing many challenges; most of them are quite significant in terms of the fate of the planet. These include –

Land Management

Excessive use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides for agriculture drastically decreases soil productivity. All the human-made chemicals degrade the soil in terms of quality and reducing the crop’s growth rate. The overuse of synthetic chemicals also pollutes nearby water sources. To increase the soil fertility rate we need to use natural resources.

Climate Change

Forest areas are being aggressively harvested for arable land. This not only reduces forest area but also increases the level of greenhouse gases, according to the “world future council,” causing climate changes and a rise in temperature. As a result, the increasing heat and climate not only affect us but also the growth and harvesting of plants and crops worldwide.

Degradation of Resource

The agricultural activity involves a lot of tool and machinery that requires other resources to be built and run – for example; parts are made by metal and fuel extracted from petroleum goods. This just adds up as a more significant cause for environmental harm in the end rather than helping reduce it.

Increasing Carbon Footprint

A lot of waste and by-products are also produced from farming. Organic farming has a positive effect on ecosystems and healthy plants – it controls the rising temperature and the occurrence of climate change because organic agriculture requires much more land than traditional farming methods. Therefore, farms around the world are either prepared for favorable conditions or following conventional methods that reveal long-term ecological damage.

Bio-Diversity

Many changes have taken place in the methods of farming to meet the need of the increasing population. This has resulted in non-agricultural lands, such as forests being converted into agricultural land. The reclamation of forest land reduces the biodiversity of that particular area, which does not allow flora and fauna to flourish properly.

Now the most important question arise that how can we use Agritech to solve these challenges? Will Agritech be helpful in this matter?

Agritech has proved its utility in many such cases, some of which are as follows;

Intelligent Agriculture

Intelligent agriculture or Smart farming is farming based on previous inventory and research to make farms and fields more productive and optimized. Here are some of the ways to design a smart farm ecosystem –

  • Computerized irrigation – An automated and adaptive irrigation system delivers crop yield improvement and water and energy cost-saving services while preserving the environment.
  • Usage of weather forecasts devices or instruments to optimize the farming and harvesting of crops – Planting the fields at the best time of the year helps produce higher yields due to nature having a highly sustainable ecosystem for the growth of the crops.
  • Qualitative Agriculture – This can be achieved by using sensors, satellites, drones, and comparative data to make precise decisions for various types of plants and different fields of land.
  • Vertical cultivation/farming – It is the practice of growing crops in upright layers by using proper water sprinkling systems, lighting supplements, oxygen, and other requirements. Urban areas are quite dense, and upright farming is an easy and efficient method that can be implied to deliver food in small places.
  • Hydroponics – Hydroponics means the process related to water. Hydroponics is a unique method of growing crops without soil in which essential mineral nutrients are provided through the water to the seed or plant. Since hydroponics farming does not involve soil, this method is designed as a vertical field to protect crops from climate-changing effects, and a full year of essential supplies can be met.

Drones & Satellite – Scanning & Surveillance

Drones and satellites can help in scanning the crops and green lands to calculate, monitor, and create territory projections. Besides, drones also serve many other purposes like drones that can fly until the end of the yield and observe unwanted activities. Drones can be connected with the satellite so that we can watch live events.

Internet of Things (IoT)-based Sensors

Under Agritech, many innovative Internet of things-based software and devices are being developed that can track and provide detailed data about the climate, quality, and current condition of the soil.

IoT solutions are used in the farming industry to optimize farming without using much of farmers’ support and time – giving them immediate statistics on their produce and fields.

Source: The IoT Magazine

The data can be used to optimize horticulture, but it also helps control further decision-making, such as warehouse and distribution of the produced goods.

Big-data & Blockchain in Agricultural Logistics

Logistics in cultivation is a bit hit-or-miss. Most of the time, customers are stuck without knowing the origin of the vegetables and fruits they buy.

To resolve this, Agritech firms and entrepreneurs help develop the use of blockchain and big-data in the agricultural division.

Blockchain is transforming this division by supporting farmers to connect with end-users immediately. With the use of blockchain –

  • Customers can quickly track where, when, and how the product originated.
  • It also helps reduce the dependency on fiat currency, helping break down borders and allowing the middlemen’s removal.
  • The reduction in the number of steps required to reach the customers also leads to reduced prices of the goods.

On the other hand, big data benefits in –

  • Strategizing and maintaining food supply at national and regional levels
  • Provides producers with metrics – climate conditions, changes in soil composition, and crop productivity – that can be used to optimize further and even make future judgments with exceptional accuracy.

Biotech

The biotech sector is the main focus of Agritech globally. The primary purpose is to focus on improving the root of agriculture crops.

Agritech can be helpful in –

  • Creating advanced products that can adapt to the current situation better than regular ones
  • Plant growth improvement
  • Soil remediation
  • Increasing soil fertility
  • Improving the farming yield

Agritech not only assists in the improvement of yields but also helps in the expansion of artificial composts, pesticides, and other things associated to farms.

Farm Conservation Technology

Agritech helps bring in improvements and inventions to the robotics and automated machine field, increasing the effectiveness of farming production. This is because the automated machine can help in –

  • Discovering and recognizing the product precisely
  • Accurately selecting the ripe one and cropping them.
  • Optimizing water usage for individual crop growth.

When done manually, these processes can take a lot of time and resources while automating them can help speed up the methods on the farm.

Production & Transportation Innovation

  • Moderation in food miles – With the evolving technologies like vertical farming and hydroponics, food can be grown closer to metropolitan areas. This significantly decreases the time and cost it takes to transport the produce from the farms to the customers. It also helps provide fresher, tastier, and better food.
  • Buying Market Places – Instead of the producers and the suppliers relying on intermediaries or attending personal meetings or over the phone, Agritech firms also help create mobile apps and websites optimized for the horticultural sector. This promotes more natural communication and communication among farmers & consumers.

These are a few essential uses cases where agritech is being used to make a distinction. Let’s have a look at the companies and startups that are making a difference in the agritech field.

Agritech Startups & Companies

Agritech startups are developing and promoting the agriculture sector around the world. Here are some of growing business names in the global agritech industry:

LettUs Grow

Produces tools and software for indoor aeroponic fields – similar to indoor hydroponic farms. but instead of growing with water solvents, the minerals are dissolved into the mist that is sprayed onto the plants.

Source: LettUs Grow

It helps utilize 95% less water than traditional farming practices and produces healthier and more delicious plants.

Phytech

It provides a real-time stream of data and reports to control and deliver actionable penetrations on the crops using plant-based sensors.

Source: Phytech

Impossible Foods

Plant-based meat burgers made from heme, a natural molecule that’s said to give meat products their distinct taste.

Source: Impossible Foods

Root AI

Develops Artificial Intelligence and robotics to support the indoor farming sector –harvesting robots to be used in greenhouse and glasshouse farm operations.

Source: RootAI

NinjaCart

Connect producers with customers and retail shops directly, enabling more active and fresher products to be accessible to the public.

Source: Ninjacart

To Wrap Up

Agritech is an industry growing at a very fast pace with no indications of slow-down anytime soon – the production of food will forever be a constant source of concern due to the expanding population.

The rate of Agritech startups is only expected to rise, while the settled players focus on developing the current practices and technologies. Investment in agritech grew to $17 billion, in 2018 alone – nearly half of the fundraising took place in the US, followed by China and India, respectively. There is a lot of potential for the future of horticulture and agritech in the years to come.


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