The future of agriculture is without doubt shockingly different from what we have known so far. With the rapid increase in population growth, along with more extreme weather and unpredictable natural disasters, humankind needs to find more innovative, effective and sustainable way to sustain our food supply.
In many developed countries, the majority of food, especially fruits and vegetables are imported from abroad, as it works out to be cheaper, more delicious and more economic. For example, the United Kingdom is producing fewer and fewer vegetables, with about 50% of products coming from overseas. For instance, in 2019, the UK produced about 70,000 tons of tomatoes, but imported about 390,000 tons. The percentage of home production supplied fell gradually from 80.7% in 1990 to just 52.8% in 2019.
However, in the UK, applying technology and innovation, new types of farming are being introduced, gaining the nation’s favourite and hope for a less dependent future. Thanet Earth owns a Britain’s leading glasshouse complex, producing around 400 million tomatoes, 30 million cucumbers and 24 million peppers annually, while minimising its energy and water consumption and promoting a circular economy.
Another great example is Jones Food Company, a vertical farming rooted innovation, which designs, builds and operates world-scale vertical farms, ensuring the highest quality fresh produce locally, sustainably and affordably. Using vertical layers, the company can increase the amount of food produced per m2 by up to 100 times, reducing up to 90% water consumption (re-using water rate of up to 30 times) and removing the need for any chemical pesticide and herbicide.
With time, the future for agriculture will see more application of sophisticated technologies (including robots, temperature and moisture sensors, GPS, etc.). The key of applying technology in agriculture is to improve decision making, lower risks and enhance variability management to opt for higher yields with higher economics.