2022 for agritech was the year of resilience, convergence, and consolidation, inclined towards tech-first value creation, expansion, innovation, and rising tech adoption across the global food chains
The advent of the fourth Industrial Revolution triggered a steady influx of novel tech paradigms that planted a plethora of exciting innovations in the agritech space
As the sector is all set to reinvent the traditional space with increased investor interest, scalable innovations and sustainable practices, the process of continuous technological progression is expected to advance further in 2023
2022 for agritech was the year of resilience, convergence, and consolidation, inclined towards tech-first value creation, expansion, innovation, and rising tech adoption across the global food chains. The advent of the fourth Industrial Revolution triggered a steady influx of novel tech paradigms that planted a plethora of exciting innovations in the agritech space.
The scalability and strength of these innovations have spurred investors to back startups in addressing the long-standing concerns linked with quality and data in the agriculture system. With an upswing in the emergence of promising solutions and innovations, the trend of active participation from public and private investors is expected to spike on its path of growth & profitability. In light of this, the tech-powered agriculture industry is slated to reach a valuation of $13.50 Bn by 2023 in terms of market size.
Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain are playing a critical role in improving agricultural and food production while simultaneously reducing production waste, minimising carbon footprint, and boosting agriculture efficiency to promote sustainable development. The AI in the agriculture market is anticipated to reach $4 Bn by 2026, according to MarketsAndMarkets tech forecast report.
Another trend that will see an uptick this year, is the increased focus on creating a robust and agile infrastructure system to ensure the food safety standards are effectively implemented as we anticipate food production to double by 2050. This also outlines the need to leverage promising solutions that can streamline food testing, eliminate subjectivity and digitise the quality of food in the post-harvest ecosystem.
As the sector is all set to reinvent the traditional space with increased investor interest, scalable innovations and sustainable practices, the process of continuous technological progression is expected to advance further in 2023, making it the year of optimism.
Let’s look at the seven major technology trends that are set to go big in 2023.
AI, in recent years, has demonstrated its ability to replicate human intelligence and augment agriculture efficiency by streamlining areas of higher stakeholder interests, such as monitoring soil quality, controlling pests and diseases in crops, standardising food quality, providing critical procurement insights, and reducing labour.
Agri stakeholders including farmers and businesses are leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to alleviate the burden of identifying issues and redirect their efforts to other aspects of farming and procurement operations.
AI is revolutionising the agritech industry in several ways:
- Predictive modelling: AI predicts crop yields, identifies disease outbreaks, and determines the best time to harvest, which can help farmers optimise their operations and increase yields.
- Quality control: AI-powered cameras and sensors are automating the inspection of crops, real-time monitoring of quality, and data traceability to help reduce waste and improve, monitor, and manage the quality of food from farm to fork.
- Supply chain management: Optimising logistics and transportation, AI has the potential to reduce the risk of spoilage, provide critical quality insights, boost data transparency and increase supply chain efficiency with trusted transactions.
- Automation: AI-powered robots and drones are automating labour-intensive tasks such as harvesting and pruning, which can help improve efficiency and reduce costs.
- Predictive Maintenance: AI applications have proven instrumental in predicting the maintenance of post-harvest equipment, reducing downtime, and increasing their shelf life.
Blockchain, a breakthrough technology that has disrupted global food chains in recent years, will continue to reinforce the dynamics of agri trade with the increasing demand for traceability, data management, food safety & supply chain transparency in the global food ecosystem.
From ensuring the authenticity of data to verifying the source of produce and tracking transactions, blockchain has the potential to transform Agri trade while adhering to food safety and quality standards. With a line of industry leaders adopting smart agriculture strategies, the technology is anticipated to grow at a considerable rate in 2023, as forecasted by MarketWatch.
Digitisation Of Food Quality
While technology penetration has introduced us to a new era of agriculture, food quality management is an upcoming trend that will revolutionise the agri-tech industry with its dynamic approach. Technologies like computer vision and spectral sciences have the ability to scan the quality of food and provide digital proof of its safety and composition in a considerably lesser time.
Integrated with other applications of AI, these new-age technologies can boost agriculture efficiency with a plethora of benefits like end-to-end traceability, real-time quality insights, and 100% digital transactions that will standardise quality and build trust between stakeholders. These technological innovations to standardise the quality of food worldwide are expected to capture an even larger portion of the industry’s eye and a stronger market presence in 2023.
Regenerative agriculture is a holistic farming method that prioritises soil health by replenishing and enhancing resources instead of depleting them. This can be achieved by practices such as intercropping, providing diverse soil nutrients, crop rotation, and cover cropping, and limiting the use of synthetic fertilisers.
With increased farmer interest, regenerative agriculture will transform the agritech industry, come 2023, in multiple ways:
- Soil Health: Regenerative agriculture focuses on improving soil health and its ability to retain water and nutrients, which can lead to higher crop yields and improved resilience to drought and other environmental stressors.
- Reduced use of chemical inputs: Promoting the use of natural inputs such as compost, mulch, and cover crops, and reducing the use of synthetic chemicals, this type of modern farming helps improve the overall health of the soil, reduce the environmental impact of farming, and improve the quality and safety of the final products.
Internet Of Things
IoT devices in agriculture are specifically utilised to efficiently measure and monitor data, including soil health, chemical and physical composition of food, equipment efficiency, supplier analytics, and weather conditions.
One of the most important uses of the Internet of Things (IoT), revolutionising agri-tech is precision agriculture. IoT-enabled devices such as sensors, drones, and cameras can be used to collect data on factors such as soil moisture, temperature, and nutrient levels, as well as crop growth and health.
This data can then be analysed using machine learning algorithms to create detailed maps of the farm, which can be used to optimise planting, irrigation, and fertilisation. In short, the analysis and knowledge provided by IoT devices can allow agri stakeholders to make well-informed decisions, boost procurement efficiency and ensure quality-based pricing on a day-to-day basis. The impact being created by this revolutionary technology will be scaled as 2023 turns into the year of tech-first value creation.
The use of organic materials and chemical-free fertilisers is helping to improve food security by increasing crop yield and improving soil structure, enabling it to retain moisture and boost microbial activity, thus promoting sustainable agriculture.
With the increased use of chemical-free fertilisers, the agritech industry is en route to developing innovative solutions that align with organic farming principles and help in meeting the increasing consumer demand for organic products. This trend is expected to gain momentum in 2023.
Big data is disrupting the agri-tech industry by providing stakeholders with actionable insights that can help them optimise their operations, increase data transparency and boost efficiency. The technology is a game changer when it comes to monitoring and analysing data from IoT-enabled devices, such as sensors, drones, and cameras, which can help identify pests, diseases, soil deficiencies, and the degrading quality of food in real time.
With pre-delivered insights and data analytics, stakeholders are able to make more informed decisions, boost trade efficiency, and reduce both pre-and post-harvest losses. For instance, with real-time visibility of lot-wise quality, stakeholders can identify the shelf-life of food in storage, thus are successful in making more informed decisions about the market release and pricing of each lot.
2023 will witness increased penetration of Big data across the food chains. This will not only enhance their business intelligence but will also pave the way for a transparent and trusted approach to food quality management.
To conclude, new-age agritech startups have started leveraging various digital technologies to accomplish the goal of enhancing food output while using fewer resources, hence simultaneously curtailing the environmental effect of manufacturing operations.
The startups are shaking the status quo by delivering a desirable blend of trust, speed & transparency across the agriculture value chains. They are doing so by deploying high-duty next-gen cloud-based, SaaS platforms and tech frameworks that are helping agribusinesses warrant food safety. The future is indeed bright for the agritech industry.