Agriculture and technology are looked at as two different sectors. The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes is termed as technology and agriculture is the science, art, and practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock.
To sustain the ever-increasing population, changing lifestyles and changing climate patterns demanded the need for efficient agriculture and this is where new technologies brought in new opportunities to update the existing agricultural practices and also widen the scope for growth and better productivity in the field.
In the beginning, when agriculture started most of the agricultural activities were carried out manually but with time farmers started trying out different ideas that would make the process simpler and faster. Even though a farmer is the one who works in the field and produces food, dairy, and other related products that are the basic necessity for survival, the responsibility of advancement in the field of agriculture doesn’t solely depend on a farmer. In more recent times, scientists studying at various universities across the world devote their lives to the research and development of farming products and practices, and they have contributed to the ever-evolving science of agriculture by introducing new technologies for the aid of agriculture.
Breeding of crops for better nutritional value, productivity, pest, and disease resistance was just a start but the real intervention of technology in agriculture can be dated back to the 19th century with the invention of the tractor which slowly led to farm mechanization and kick-started the revolution of ‘Agri-tech’. After which many other technologies got incorporated into agriculture. Hence, technology was always a part of farming but in recent years it has become more prominent and influential for the growth of agriculture. Some of the recent technological advancements in agriculture are:
- Hydroponics: Have you ever heard about growing crops without soil? Well, hydroponics is a technology that makes it possible and also allows utilizing the vertical space of the greenhouse.
- Aquaponics: The hybrid of aquaculture and hydroponics is aquaponics. This technology effectively utilizes and recycles the nutrients for the growth of plants as well as the fishes. This gives a farmer to have two enterprises with just one production cycle.
- Agricultural drones: This unmanned vehicle with sensors and digital imaging capabilities empowers the farmers to have a bird’s eye view which can reveal many issues such as irrigation problems, soil variation, and pest and fungal infestations. Further, this helps the farmer to optimize agriculture operations, increase crop production, and monitor crop growth(Read more: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_drone).
- AI, robotics, and IoT: These are some terms in the buzz and these technologies have proven to be useful in many different sectors. These technologies also found a way to collaborate with agriculture. Automated tractors, different types of robots for harvesting, weeding, pruning, sorting, and packing also got incorporated into agriculture due to these technologies.
There are many more technologies (like block-chain technology, aeroponics, big data, small packaging, automation, etc) that are being introduced to agriculture to bring out smart farming and many of these technologies are still in the incubation phase.
We can see many technologies that can make agriculture easy but it will not be a smooth road for its implementation in farmers’ field and also the application will depend upon how developed a country is to incorporate these advanced technologies. Hence, I believe that even though ‘Agri-tech’ is a buzzing topic, it’s still in its infancy and has a long way to go. There is a lot of scopes for its development and will transform the agricultural sector across the world for the better.
About the Author:
B V Chandini | Content Writer
Chandini is a Horticulture graduate from Kerala, India. Gardening and farming enthusiast who love to write and open to venture into different domains to explore her potentials and to utilise them.