4 ways in which AgriTech is contributing to the UK’s sustainability story…

AgriTech features dominantly in the government’s industrial strategy. Here are four ways in which this emerging technology can contribute to sustainability …

In recent posts we’ve highlighted the growing AgriTech cluster in Cambridgeshire and AgriTech’s prominent position in the government’s Industrial Strategy. So why is AgriTech featuring so heavily in the Industrial Strategy? Because investment in AgriTech is recognised globally as being the most effective and efficient way to achieve sustainability.

AgriTech is key to global food sustainability

Population growth means that global food demand will increase by up to 100% before 2050 Rising global demand for food and water is increasing the need for agriculture that produces more from less. The global community need to research, develop and commercialise new agricultural technologies to increase crop production and yield, minimise input and cost (both to the consumer and farmer) and reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture. As such, AgriTech will play a dominant part in securing future food global sustainability.

 AgriTech is key to environmental sustainability

Whilst there is a clear need to accelerate global agriculture to meet global food demand, global agriculture is currently responsible for 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. One of the many applications of AgriTech focussed AI and data analytics solutions is to enable more efficient use of energy and resources. For example, intelligent algorithms applied to data on atmospheric conditions and soil moisture are dramatically reducing the amount of water needed for agriculture. Indeed, many of the technologies identified by the World Economic Forum as being key to achieving sustainability goals (both environmental and food) are being developed within the AgriTech sector. There is no doubt about it. AgriTech will play a dominant part in securing UN sustainable development goals.

AgriTech is key to agricultural supply-chain sustainability

It’s not just about global food and environment goals though. It’s about building a sustainable supply chain in the agricultural sector too. The World Economic Forum’s report Innovation with a Purpose, identifies the Transformative Twelve, a collection of twelve enabling and promising technologies that could change the food production system and supply chain over the next decade. Each of the twelve has been selected for its potential impact in improving consumer nutrition, increasing supply chain efficiency and transparency and boosting farmer productivity and profitability.

Agricultural supply chain sustainability is something the UK government prioritises. Indeed, it was one of the benefits UK business secretary, Greg Clark focussed on when he announced a £90million AgriTech investment in his keynote speech at the National Farmers’ Union Annual Conference in February. This investment aims to bring together AI, robotics and earth observation to improve supply chain resilience in the agri-food sector, which currently contributes £14.3 billion to UK economy, employing 500,000 people.

With the technological revolution that is happening, the skills of the farming workforce need to keep pace. New technologies require new abilities and today’s modern British farmer is a Swiss-Army-Knife of skills. An engineer, an environmentalist, a data scientist a biochemist, an energy producer, a tourism entrepreneur, and an investor too.

As part of the Industrial Strategy, we announced a Transforming Food Production Challenge and I’m delighted to announce the government will invest £90 million to make this challenge a reality.

This will include the creation of ‘Translation Hubs’ bringing together farmers and growers businesses, scientists and Centres for Agricultural Innovation to apply the latest research to farming practice.” -Greg Clark

So, in summary, AgriTech is helping to fuel rural growth, create high skilled jobs and open up new export opportunities, bringing us to our third and final sustainability point.

AgriTech is key to economic sustainability.

We need not say any more to make our point. We’ve written before about why AgriTech has such a significant presence in the Industrial Strategy. The fact that it does is evidence in itself of the role it has to play in our country’s economic sustainability.