How Technology Is Transforming The Farm And Food Industry
HWM Singapore|December 2020
How technology is transforming the farm and food industry
Friedhelm Best

Smart technologies are at the forefront of Industry 4.0. A company’s competitiveness hinges on its ability to incorporate AI, machine learning, robotics, and other innovations into everyday operative tasks. Digitization has affected different industries, and especially now, with Covid-19 exacerbating a food crisis around the world. the food and farming industries have to embrace technology as well.

In recent years, there has been a steady rise in smarter and more powerful systems to optimize the way food is harvested, processed, and packaged. There is tremendous scope for the inclusion of data in the farming process; not only to improve yield and profitability for the operator, but to ensure a safer and more sustainable food production supply chain for us all.

SETTING THE TABLE FOR TRANSFORMATION

Regardless of size or scale of an operation, farmers today face challenges unlike any that came before. The biggest of these is in terms of supply and demand. According to the UN, the world’s population is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. Also, arable land is becoming sparse as urbanization increases. With climate change to contend with and food waste a growing concern in many parts of the world – it was time for action.

Meeting these challenges is a collaborative effort. As is the case in the Smart Factory narrative, governments and regulatory bodies, equipment manufacturers, and operators themselves seek innovative, game-changing solutions. The International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) smart farming standards for the agricultural industry span the entire supply chain – from farm to plate. That includes tools and technology standards, standards on soil quality, irrigation, and food safety management. Equipment manufacturers and researchers gather at large-scale events, such as the VDI Conference for Smart Farming or Agritechnica to forge and present smart farming solutions that meet sustainability goals and help farmers comply with changing regulation. But what exactly are these new innovations?

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