Homerun Nievera, Negosentro | World hunger is on the rise yet again, affecting more than 800 million people around the world. This, among many other reasons, only highlights the increasing importance of food security and finding quicker, more efficient ways to grow and distribute food. Thankfully, technology is on humanity’s side in this fight. With the AgTech revolution in recent years, modern tools and techniques are now made more accessible for farmers to better manage their crops and livestock.
Here’s a look at a few farming technology companies and how they positively impact the growing, management, and delivery of food.
Livestock farmers have numerous issues to deal with, like the nutrition needs of their herd, vaccinations, inventory, and many others. BovControl, company based in Sao Paulo in Brazil, has created a data collection and analysis tool geared toward helping cattle farmers to better manage their herd, thus improving meat and milk yield, as well as bovine genetics. Their overall goal is to enhance food production efficiency, especially for communities that highly dependent in agriculture economically.
Spectral imaging is a popular tool in astronomy and solar physics. However, the team from Ceres Imaging thought to apply the technology in agriculture to help farmers identify and solve crop-related problems faster and more efficiently. Farmers can also use the collected data—like water stress, leaf nitrogen content, chlorophyll content, pest infestation, and canopy vigor, among others—to adjust or improve farming practices in order to boost yield and protect growers’ margins.
Ceres Imaging also has a team of imaging experts and agronomists to help with analytics and insighting, to further explain issues and their impact to the field, and to offer possible solutions to other challenges.
Irrigation is one of the most pressing concerns in farming, and CropX aims to address this issue. Founded in 2013, CropX is an Israeli startup hardware and software company that sells in-field sensors to measure attributes like soil moisture, temperature, and electrical conductivity. The data is then sent to the cloud, which farmers can access from any device. CropX’s system also detects how much water a plant needs and delivers the exact amount automatically, saving time, water, energy, and physical effort on the side of the farmers.
Another issue hounding food security is sustainability, especially with dwindling resources like arable land, water, and energy. By building greenhouses that use hydroponic systems and a mineral-based nutrient solution as fertilizer, New York-based BrightFarms promotes not only sustainability and environmental protection, but also supports local farmers.
In fact, the company is working with supermarkets like Pick-n-Save, Sullivans, and even Walmart, by putting their greenhouses at or near these stores to ensure that the produce is sold almost immediately upon harvest, maximizing freshness and nutrition.
Food wastage is a result of a numerous reasons, including spoilage and overproduction, as well as consumption-related factors like when people burn food while cooking or when they are unwilling to eat leftovers. Aesthetics is also a factor in food wastage, where retailers refuse to purchase more than 20 billion pounds of “ugly” produce, like misshapen or bruised fruits and vegetables, from farmers.
Full Harvest, a company based in San Francisco, aims to reduce this wastage by connecting growers with food and beverage companies who are willing to buy surplus and “imperfect” produce. This simple process also brings additional revenue to farmers and lowers the cost of producing healthy food options.
Farmers Business Network
Leveraging big data to connect over 3,000 farmers and counting, Farmers Business Network or FBN focuses on developing a farmer-driven information source. This way, they can learn more about seeds and soil information, agronomic analytics, supply prices, and more, with objective, no-fluff data straight from fellow farmers. With their “Farmers First” philosophy, FBN aims to give small, independent farmers a competitive edge against larger operations in the market.
We may have long way to go to completely eradicating world hunger, but with the help of science and technology, perhaps we’ll be seeing fewer hungry, undernourished people in the coming years.
Homerun Nievera is the publisher of Negosentro.com and WorldExecutivesDigest.com. He has interests in several tech and digital businesses as director and chief strategist.