I grew up in a small idyllic village where it was normal to have an own garden to grow your own food. Living at home, I have never experienced a shortage of food, regardless of whether it was vegetables or fruits. My family would also preserve the food to make it last throughout the winter. There were also several farmers planting and selling all kinds of crops. Now, many people have given up their gardens. The supermarkets sell everything so cheap that people will rather buy it than do the labor-intensive work themselves. Also, the number of farmers has decreased.
Food lower on priority list of digital natives
It leaves me wondering how food went down on the priority list of people. If you look at a report that has been published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 an estimated 820 million people did not have enough to eat. And this is sadly a growing trend. The experts state that this challenges achievement of the sustainable development goal of zero hunger by 2030.
The agriculture industry already underwent a drastic change in the past 50 years. Improved machinery, seeds, fertilizers, and irrigation led to increased cultivation of more land. But the next revolution is already here and can truly change the world. When we increase the connectivity and the capability to gather and analyze data, we can also increase the yield. This would also lead to more sustainable farming. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a change, for more local produce.
The next revolution in agriculture
The digital change in the industry is currently on the right track. Many machines already come with connectivity and transmit data to the farmers, for example fuel consumption and grain moisture. But think about what is possible if not only the heavy machines such as combine harvesters and tractors are connected, but also your entire farm. It will be a lot more efficient and sustainable to get real-time information on the state of the soil, your produce, and the current conditions.
Though it sounds easy, it is not so easy in practice. While I have not yet come across a place in Finland that did not have at least a stable 4G network, at home I have. This is a problem in many rural areas. But instead of focusing on the problem, let’s focus on the solution. There are several sensors on the market which can operate via LoRa networks to start with. By investing into connectivity, we can bring agriculture to the next level. Imagine the impact this could have on a farmer. One would be able to gather information from seeding to harvest, ensuring that the produce always has the best possible conditions.
Further, with a platform like BaseN Platform, a farmer can also access historical data to see trends – whether this is regarding the climate and weather change – or the conditions and changes of different fields. Everybody can benefit from this, as the overuse of fields will be flagged immediately, and farmers can take corrective actions.
Stay tuned to read more about how old Mac Donald connected his farm.