Agriculture is arguably one of the most important industries in the world today. From pollination technology in California, to farming management tools in Serbia and Brazil, to agrochemical breakthroughs in Israel, innovation is occurring in every corner of the world. According to the World Bank’s estimates, the food and agriculture sector totals up to 10% of our global gross domestic product, or roughly $4.8 trillion based on 2006 estimates. Despite this, we don’t often hear about exciting new innovations in the field. There is plenty of news about the latest app from Silicon Valley, but not quite the same hype for upcoming agricultural technology. Innovations on the farm are just as cutting-edge and impressive, so what’s the hold up?
Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that technology in the agricultural sector is just more widely distributed than others. This is especially tough on startups and researchers that don’t always have the necessary resources to scale these innovations. Agriculture is not as concentrated as cleantech, which resides in major hubs like Boston and Silicon Valley (although this too is changing as cleantech becomes more dispersed, with innovators from Canada all the way to Hong Kong).
The fact is, agricultural innovations are everywhere, but the resources to connect these technologies globally are not. If we can’t get connected, today’s agriculture and food systems will never be able to keep up with the rapidly growing demand.
The future depends on connecting the remarkable technologies that are springing up all across the globe. That’s why we launched Motionry, to get the world connected when it comes to agricultural science. We’re even connecting researchers working on crop genetics and more. Along the way, we have uncovered some truly amazing technological innovations.
Take Catalyst AgTech, for example, an Israeli startup focused on reducing soil and groundwater contamination due to agrochemicals. Their patented catalyst solution features a “self destruct” mechanism, allowing agrochemicals to break down after use. Or check out AgSquared in the U.S., a record keeping software that allows small farmers to easily track harvests, manage supplies, and review their practices. Looking southward to Brazil, there’s Strider, a mobile application that reduces pesticide use by determining when, where, and how much to spray for maximum efficiency.
More innovation can be found in the United States, where Pollen-Tech’s proprietary pollen-slurry mixture gives growers direct control over pollination practices. The slurry is applied with an electrostatic charge, attracting the pollen to the flower stigma for more accurate pollination. Or take a look to Serbia, where innovators are working on Farmia, an online livestock exchange network that allows farmers to easily advertise their animals to a wide range of potential buyers. More and more technologies like these are rising up every day. They only need the proper resources to tap into their potential.
Farmers around the world are reaping the benefits of the vital and profitable sector of agriculture. But they aren’t the only ones who will gain from innovations in this field. Keeping in mind that we will need to feed nine billion mouths by the year 2050, agricultural technology could not be coming at a better time. By getting connected, the world’s startups, researchers, and farmers can sustainably feed the generations of the future.