How Precision Farming Could Feed Millions Globally
Precision farming or the use of advanced technologies to improve agricultural efficiency and output is a growing industry with the potential to completely transform the farming sector worldwide. Through the use of intelligent algorithms, advanced mechanisms and fledgling inventions, precision farming has the possibility of saving time, money and resources for generations to come. In fact, for nearly 78% of impoverished citizens worldwide who rely primarily on agricultural means to sustain their lives, combined governmental investment in precision farming could mark the turning point into an exponential rise in income, quality of life and sustainability for the rest of their lives.
What is Precision Farming?
Precision farming, a subsector of the agricultural industry, is an advanced technique of utilizing novel technologies and mechanics to maximize crop output while minimizing the levels of traditional inputs needed to grow crops. The use of automated irrigation systems, drone-based planting and intelligent path-generation tools are all examples of ways to implement this approach on a large scale. In places where even the smallest savings make a huge difference, methods like these would benefit farmers by saving precious commodities like fuel, fertilizer, herbicide and water. Indeed, a 2021 study found that precision farming across the United States resulted in a 25% increase in wheat yields compared to the 1980 levels. It resulted in millions of dollars saved from a nearly 10% drop in herbicide and pesticide usage nationwide.
In countries like Vietnam, the practice of precision farming has already begun to yield remarkable results. For years, paddy farming has been the cornerstone of rural employment in the country. Yet, it has remained an arduous and costly process that places a heavy demand on precious water resources. However, with the introduction of the Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) irrigation method, many of those hurdles were overcome. Through this technique, water requirements for farming reduced by up to 28%, while methane emissions decreased by almost 50%. Furthermore, in order to help finance and maintain these efforts, the Korea World Bank Partnership Facility funded a plan to make the irrigation process easier to access and understand for the average citizen. As a result of these initiatives, Vietnamese farmers have reduced water usage in their paddy farming operations. This has led to increased prosperity and strengthened their overall economic positions.
Brazil stands as yet another testament to the immense potential of precision farming. Since the technology’s debut in 1980, Brazil has experienced unprecedented agronomic growth with a 206% increase in national grain yield and a 394% increase in production. With the introduction of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), advanced pesticide deployment and targeting were employed throughout the country, which proved to be much more effective than the traditional methods. Soil research and analysis also proved instrumental. Through these methods, farmers could more accurately and efficiently find the optimal sites for their crops and maximize output. As a result of these tremendous efforts, Brazil managed to lower its poverty headcount ratio by almost 94%, from 30.6% in 1983 to just 1.9% of the population in 2020.
Next Steps in Revolutionizing Agriculture
Although some nations have taken many commendable steps to incorporate precision farming into their industries, much work remains. Greater funding of government programs and increased public awareness of the benefits of precision farming are two crucial factors that can help drive progress in this area. Continued investment in precision farming and collaboration to overcome existing challenges can help create more sustainable and prosperous farming practices for all.
– Sanjith Sambath