The global pandemic brought about by COVID-19 has heightened a deep sense of food insecurity in many countries. The future of food became key political and economic hotspots almost overnight. Friedhelm Best, vice-president of the Asia-Pacific region at HIMA, provides his perspective into what the future of farming and food production might look like.
According to a United Nations report, the world population is expected to reach 9.8 billion people by 2050. With more than 9 billion people to feed, farmers are anticipating challenges in terms of supply and demand. Additionally, urbanisation is increasing, which may stimulate improvements in infrastructure and climate change at the expense of agricultural throughput. The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown the world how a global pandemic can rapidly disrupt food supplies leading to adverse reactions from communities.
A concerted effort by governments, regulatory bodies, equipment manufacturers and smart technology vendors are required to address these challenges.
The International Organisation for Standardisation’s (ISO) smart farming standards, span the entire supply chain from farm to plate. This includes tools and technology standards, standards on soil quality, irrigation, and food safety management. Equipment manufacturers and researchers congregate in industry events such as the VDI Conference for Smart Farming or Agritechnica to showcase smart farming solutions that meet sustainability goals and help farmers comply with changing regulations.
But what exactly are these new innovations?
Precision farming in Farm and Food 4.0
The next phase of food production and processing inevitably involves smart innovations and digitisation. Farms and food processing companies turning to smart and more powerful systems to optimise harvesting, processing, and packaging of food are steadily on the rise. Similar to many other industries, the competitiveness of farms and food processing companies will increasingly hinge on their ability to incorporate advance technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotics and automation to drive greater business efficiencies, improve yield and profitability, as well as ensuring a safer, more reliable and sustainable food production supply chain.
Today, modern farms are operating differently, primarily due to technological advances such as sensors and devices that increase the efficiency and productivity in farming. The adoption of advanced technologies has precipitated the term “Precision Agricultural” revolution.
The full article is published in the latest edition of Food & Beverage Asia Feb/Mar 2021 issue. To continue reading, click here.