What is Agricultural Technology?
Rapid population growth, increasing urbanization, and an expanding global middle class will have profound impacts on food and nutrition security and will place intense additional pressure on the environment.
Technology innovation can help transform global food systems. It has been highlighted technology applications that present emerging opportunities to improve consumer nutrition, increase supply-chain efficiency and transparency, and boost farmer productivity and profitability.
Nature in Decline
Water availability, climate volatility, and deforestation are among the most pressing related issues. While the global population increased by 340% between the years 1900 and 2010, global water withdrawal grew by 630% over the same period.
Climate change-related extreme weather events like drought, flooding, and heatwaves increase agricultural price volatility, trigger food crises, and disrupt global supply chains. The implications of this are more severe for less-resilient countries
If consumers were able to replace between 10% and 15% of the meat they consume with alternative proteins by 2030, total greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture could drop by between 5% and 8%, freshwater withdrawals for agriculture could be reduced by between 7% and 12%, and between 5% and 10% of the total land used for agriculture could be freed up for other uses.
The time for change is now. There needs to be a new innovative way to carry out these operations that will revolutionize how agriculture is done.
Sustainability & Profitability
At the global level, we have outlined two broad classes of investment opportunities as well as two sets of ‘policy’ measures through which investors can play an active role in enhancing agricultural productivity – and thereby returns:
The most obvious opportunity set lies indirect investment in food production. Despite the challenges and risks posed to agriculture and food systems around the world, research has shown distinct benefits from investing in agriculture and food production for investors.
Sustainable agriculture, which is a goal rather than a distinct set of practices, is a system of food and fibre production that
■ improves the underlying productivity of natural resources and cropping systems so that farmers can meet increasing levels of demand in concert with population and economic growth;
■ produces food that is safe, wholesome, and nutritious and that promotes human well-being;
■ ensures an adequate net farm income to support an acceptable standard of living for farmers while also underwriting the annual investments needed to improve progressively the productivity of soil, water, and other resources; and
■ complies with community norms and meets social expectations.