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Will farmers be the next great data scientists?

As the global population continues to soar, the pressure on farmers to enhance agricultural productivity increases. New Food hears from two industry experts who believe technology holds the answer.

Agricultural farmers and growers are at the centre of the world’s food supply, with one third of all workers being employed in the sector, which constitutes the backbone of local communities and nourishes more than 7 billion people globally.1

Today, one of if not the most significant problems farmers and growers face is how to increase agricultural productivity to feed the growing population. Globally, food availability will need to increase 50 percent by 2030 and 70 percent by 2050.2 To put this into perspective, farmers will need to grow more in the next 40 years than they did in the

previous 10,000.If that statistic was not sufficiently sobering, farmers and growers also need to work in a way that is environmentally responsible, managing the impact on crops brought about by increasingly volatile climate conditions. Farmers must also create food that is nutritious, accessible and affordable – ensuring social responsibility in the process.

PepsiCo has been working with more than 3,900 farmers and growers from whom we source our crops, to try and navigate these complex challenges and build agronomy practices that will help us grow more food using less. Ultimately, we are a business that is built on agriculture – we rely on the use of natural high-quality local raw materials such as corn, potatoes, oats and plantain. This means we have a significant role to play in addressing these critical issues and finding solutions.

We have discovered that an important part of the solution to these challenges lies in ‘precision agriculture’ – using state-of-the-art technology to help farmers gather data on their crops and utilise those insights to improve growing practices; making them more efficient and using fewer resources.

Published at: 18-09-2019
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