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Looking beyond COVID-19, agricultural yields must rise to meet food needs of a growing population

crops 1COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of AI-powered technologies in the industry. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

As a productivity enhancement tool, agricultural sprayers market to reach US$2.8bn.

The global market for agricultural sprayers is expected to decline by -5% in the year 2020 and thereafter recover and grow to reach a market size of US$2.8bn by the year 2027, trailing a post COVID-19 CAGR of 6.2% over the analysis period 2020 through 2027.

The mind-bending spurt in population growth is triggering fears that the world is heading for a population crisis. A major fallout of global population growth is the pressure exerted on resources, especially food. Already millions of people worldwide are experiencing the effects of food insecurity such as physical and economic access to adequate and healthy food; increase in malnutrition; inability to afford nutritious food; dietary inadequacy and inability to lead productive and healthy life. The rise in global food and oil prices are additionally making food availability unequal among the layers of society and communities.

This is especially pronounced in low income countries. Availability of arable land has also been declining over the decades, causing stress on food production. Factors for diminishing percentage of arable land include rapid urbanisation and increased soil degradation and pollution. Rapid urbanisation, urban sprawl, and industrialisation, over the last decades, have played a vital role in displacing agricultural lands. In addition to population growth, climate change is also aggravating food security issues. Climate change is exerting a negative effect on food availability, food accessibility, food utilisation, food storage, and food systems stability.

Extreme often abnormal weather conditions such as high temperatures, drought, floods, low temperatures, and snow tend to destroy crops, reducing yield per unit of land. Landslides and hurricanes lead to soil displacement and soil erosion affecting the quality of soil for successful agriculture. This yet again impacts crop productivity leading to food shortages and higher food prices.

The agriculture industry is set to undergo notable transformation in the post-COVID-19 era owing to continuous influx and implementation of new concepts and technologies. The shift is expected to help farmers in revolutionising operations for better yields, environmental gains and less wastage. AI holds immense potential to help the agriculture industry to become smarter and efficient while reducing waste.

COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of AI-powered technologies in the industry. Agriculture professionals are realising notable benefits of using drones for tasks like seeding, field surveying and spraying while keeping farmers safe. Drone flights in the agriculture industry have increased 32% over 2018-2019, indicating increasing focus on drones. In addition, increasing agricultural automation is anticipated to further drive the trend and transform farm practices.

Emerging technologies such as AI and automation are likely to help farmers in ensuring smart planting, while integration of drone software in equipment management is expected to support analysis of conditions. AI-powered solutions are being widely used for detecting weeds, water issues, nitrogen deficiencies and pests to remediation like spraying of herbicides and pesticides. Advanced solutions leverage AI along with cameras on crop sprayers for detecting and spraying agrochemicals with high degree of precision.