An important driver of the growth in this segment is the availability of advanced technology solutions. From integrated climate, process and irrigation controllers, autonomous growing and greenhouse automation solutions, to the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) - like Plantonomy,™ Priva’s cloud-based service that uses smart algorithms that follow a plant’s biorhythm for predictive cultivation, and robotics - such as Priva’s Kompano, the world’s first automated leaf cutting robot for tomato crops, technology can transform agriculture and be instrumental in the achievement of food security strategies.
Here are three sample ways in which technology enables food for future:
1. Tracking water and energy usage to optimize crop yield and minimize food waste
With fresh water scarce in the GCC countries and the oil price fluctuating, the optimal use of water and energy is critical in boosting local sustainable food produce. By deploying climate and process controls in farms, water and energy usage can be effectively tracked and metrics put in place to ensure the data can be used to optimize crop yield and nutrition and reduce food wastage. Today, only 23.1% of respondents in the 2021 Global CEA Census Report use automated or semi- automated in-house tracking of sustainability metrics. 48% of respondents are tracking sustainability metrics by manually calculating every now and then, with another 27% of respondents not tracking at all. Hence there’s a significant gap to close.
2. Attracting and inspiring the next generation of growers
Globally, the average age of a farmer today is 60 years. To safeguard the future of farming we need to nurture the next generation of growers. In attracting young professionals, we need to rethink what it means to be a farmer. One way to do so is through technology and Priva is committed to promoting the sector as an attractive, high-tech career choice to a younger workforce of digital natives. We are talking to various universities and R&D centers in the Middle East to unite and collaborate on this, which is very exciting.
3. Collaboration and knowledge sharing are key to innovation
With the need for food production to increase by 60% by 2050 to sustain the world’s growing populationset to top 9 billion(4), we need to find ways to further accelerate sustainable food production. To do so, we strongly believe at Priva that the key to achieving food security is collaboration and knowledge sharing. By exchanging data and best practices on the use of AgriTech, and by forging partnerships across sectors and borders to advance the adoption of technology, we will be able to transform to a sustainable farming model. Through the Priva Academy, we provide knowledge and training on a wide range of horticultural subjects to growers, their employees, crop advisers, and horticultural training institutes.
(1) The Global CEA Census 2021
(2) Washington Post (source dated February 21, 2021)
(4) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)