Smart Farming: the future of agriculture

Insights , Trends , Sustainable Value 02/05/2018 de Dan Scott
Temps de lecture: 2 minute(s)

Smart farming could be a precondition if future agricultural production is to meet the ever-increasing global demand for food. Among the current challenges in agriculture are changing weather conditions and a slowdown in the growth of crop yields.

Animated graphics on the problem of the growing food shortage


According to estimates from the United Nations, world population will increase to 9.6 billion by 2050, with global food production expected to increase by 70% to meet new demand. At the same time, however, agriculture faces major challenges such as the limited availability of arable land, the rising demand for fresh water, and the effects of climate change.

One solution to these problems is the use of intelligent farming methods.

To increase productivity, smart farming relies on information and communication technologies, in addition to new production methods that make up the three pillars of tomorrow’s agriculture:

  • Precision farming
  • Vertical farming
  • Biologics



To understand what impact each of the three pillars makes, it is necessary to understand their different objectives more precisely:


  • Bridging the food shortage

    Precision farming aims to use resources more efficiently. By using precise planting, fertilization and irrigation methods, farmers can produce more food from the same amount of land. Modern tractors also gather large amounts of data for analysis that can be processed to help improve yields.

  • Increasing the food supply in densely populated cities

    Vertical farming is a technique where food is grown in vertically stacked layers or on vertically inclined surfaces. As a result, acreage available for planting can be multiplied by a significant factor. For example, food can be grown on the façade of a building or on artificial slopes. This produce is healthier, too, because its cultivation is possible with less water and almost no pesticides.   More on this topic

  • Agricultural practice in transition

    Agricultural productivity can be increased as well by the application of biologics, which are derived from natural materials such as plant extract and naturally occurring microorganisms. They can be used as a fertilizer, to improve nutrient uptake from the soil, and to control pests.



Interesting for investors: The global market for precision farming

The global market for smart farming is expected to reach around 204 billion USD in 2021 (compared to 152 billion USD in 2016) and grow at an average annual growth rate of 6%. The highest growth is expected from the component sub-sectors precision farming (CAGR 21%) and vertical farming (CAGR 18%). Selected suppliers of innovative products and services in the smart farming ecosystem should thus benefit from the increasing demand for digitization.

Chart on Smart Farming: Growth potential in USD in the “precision farming” sector

Growth potential of the global market for precision farming. Source: Statista, Acumen Research & Consulting




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