IRVINE, California — With the global population expected to reach 9 billion in 2040, and the majority of that growth happening in developing countries, there will be a higher stress placed on global resources, especially in the agriculture department. Small technological changes as well as increased mechanization empower farmers by increasing agriculture productivity.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, up to 40 percent of food produced in the developing world is wasted even before it is able to reach the market. Research indicates that lack of access to gold chain technology and dependable energy sources are the main reason for food waste. Lisa Kitinoja, founder of the Postharvest Education Foundation comments on the situation.
“Without the technology, expertise and understanding necessary to keep their harvest fresh, smallholder farmers are often locked into a cycle of poverty, unable to access global markets,” Kitinoja said.
India is one of the most densely populated countries with high poverty rates. Reports indicate that India losses up to $5.2 billion in fruit and vegetables alone because they lack proper farming technologies.
In 2013, the Powering Agriculture competition presented a range of farming technologies and tools that can significantly change the way smallholder farmers in rural areas farm. Better cold storage technologies, education about food and improvement in infrastructure can drastically change this situation.
While large-scale farmers are using modernized techniques for farming with advanced technologies, small-scale farmers are still using traditional ways of farming. Old farming methods limit agricultural production by often restricting the farmers to producing one type of crop when they are able to do a variety of farming using modern technology.
In 2014, a Ghana-based technology provider, Farmerline, announced plans to join the Business Call to Action, which challenges companies to develop inventive business models that achieve developmental outcomes.
The company plans to empower 500,000 small-scale farmers by 2019 in Africa to improve their agricultural production. Moreover, the company also plans to offer a new mobile technology and data collection platform to 5,000 development organizations and agriculture businesses.
Using mobile phones as agriculture technology provides a valuable resource for farmers to better access to markets, weather forecasts and agriculture services. Mobile phones also serve as a valuable technology that can help small-scale farmers out of poverty.
For small-scale farmers in many developing areas, it is important to ensure that farmers get the best returns for their produce. Wireless networks connected through mobile phones is the simplest way to allow farmers to choose crops which are best suited for their land after studying soil and weather conditions.
Mobile phones powered with mobile networking to allow easy access for a farmer to take control of their land and crop production. In turn, small-scale farmers can move out of poverty while increasing agriculture production, providing a sustainable environment for the growing population.
Moreover, health risks can also be decreased with the utilization of technology. Many farmers in developing countries still spread fertilizer on a farm using their bare hands, when they can use simple machines equipped with the right technology to do the work in a shorter timeframe.
As the worldwide population increases, agricultural production becomes critical to survival and building a sustainable environment for the future. Agriculture may be the foundation of the economy, and could potentially bring millions of people out of poverty.
– Sandy Phan
Sources: FAO Post Harvest Powering Agriculture