Digitization + Technological Innovations + Traceability
In everything from processing, communication, traceability and innovation models, technology is changing the way we farm.
While consumers may not be exposed to all the technological innovations behind the scenes, the industry is evolving thanks to these developments.
The restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic made it essential for farmers and industry members to transition from in-person meetings to digital communications.
As noted by Trimble (2021), “When farmers can share data, sign paperwork and receive advice digitally, it saves them time and money. This allows for increased communication with equipment providers, crop advisors and other professionals.”
This transition is predicted to continue long after the pandemic is resolved. Startup founders are inventing solutions that further digitize the farmer’s life by delivering holistic management platforms and monitoring systems (Pixofarm, 2020).
Pixofarm (2020), a mobile app that helps apple producers optimize their harvest by measuring and forecasting fruit size and gathering reliable data, forecasts several innovative developments in the agriculture space – especially in water management, packaging and eco-friendly products.
We are also already seeing new solutions with drones, sensors and smart agriculture machines – all of which are meant to increase efficiencies, productivity and profitability.
Another macrotrend we’re noticing in this category is the consumer demand for transparency.
As seen in other sectors – namely, beauty, health and food – we are living through an age of accountability. Reputable consulting and research company, McKinsey & Company (2020), identified trends that they believe will greatly influence the direction of the agriculture sector in the coming years. Those included increased transparency and traceability across the value chain. According to them, this traceability will increase efficiency and reduce waste.
This trend was also covered by Forbes (2020), which found that part of this new health and food awareness we’re seeing among consumers and businesses adds up to transparent data and traceability.
Jean Pougnier, CEO of Crop Enhancement, stated that “traceability will expand beyond food safety and production methods to encompass aroma, flavor, texture, nutritional benefits and other aspects of food quality.”
While big data has evolved, “the use of that data has yet to take off and will make strides in 2021″ (Forbes, 2020).