According to the European Commission, the most important trend in today's agro sector will be so-called precision agriculture, also known as smart farming. Based on research conducted by Statista agencies in October 2023, the value of this market will increase from more than six billion in 2021 to about 16 billion in 2027.
What does this mean in practice? Better crop planning, more precise application of crop protection products, water and fuel savings, and better planned product distribution. Indeed, climate change, a radical increase in costs in the food supply chain and less access to resources are forcing the rapid digitalisation of agriculture.
The entire agri-sector is talking about smart farming today, as the changes will undoubtedly contribute to increasing the productivity of the agri-sector. In the face of energy challenges, intermittent supply chains from Ukraine, problems with distribution and advising on deliveries, smart farming seems to be a rational solution for the agro sector in Europe, according to experts. Numerous technological solutions for precision farming are already available on the market. These include, for example, sensors, decision support systems (DSS), data collection systems and blockchain. The use of satellite data will make better use of the resources available to the farmer.
In times of uncertainty, innovation and digitalisation are becoming increasingly important in the agri-food sector in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, confirms Beth Crawford, Director of the FAO’s Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Office of Innovation. The environmental data is indeed alarming. According to information revealed by the recent World Economic Forum, agriculture is a 23% source of greenhouse gas emissions and consumes 92% of the world’s freshwater resources.
Forum experts pointed to the world’s growing food challenges: by 2050, 2 billion more people will need to be fed than before. As panellists at the Forum commented, agriculture needs to become more productive, but at the same time sustainable. It is the rapid digitalisation that favours this. – Today, a farmer cannot just cultivate the soil. He has to look at his farm more broadly, combining modern technologies and precision farming, but also – and this is very important – exchanging his experiences, said Artur Szymczak, head of Kuhn Maszyny Rolnicze, during the Polish National Challenges in Agriculture 2023 conference.