Among all the subsets of technologies that fell under the category of exponential technologies, food and agro tech are probably the least discussed and known. However, this does not implies that they are any less in potential or value when compared to other exponential technologies like AI, drones and blockchain. Perhaps food and Agriculture Technology are one of the most significant types of exponential tech since it is directly connected to us, people. Hence continuous development and innovations in food and agro techs becomes essential to increase their capabilities to meet the demands of the ever growing population.
Like biotechnology, food and agriculture technologies have been around since a long period of time. Agricultural practices were present in many early civilizations. When humans shifted from being nomads to being farmers, agriculture technology came into existence. As human population began to grow, the agricultural techniques also started to undergo development and innovations. Parallel to Agriculture Technology food processing also originated. Modern forms of food processing technologies have numerous applications and potential while the early forms were primarily focused on preservation of food.
Agricultural technology is defined as group of technologies that are used to control the growth and harvesting of crops. Conventional forms of agricultural tech focused on soil preparation and maintenance. These practices would include tilling, maintaining nutrients and maintain moisture content in the soil as per the crop sown to meet its requirement. All these simple and primitive practices were quite effective until a few decades ago. But the changing scenarios and growing population are starting to put more pressure on the farmers. Moreover this has put challenge in front of governments of countries with heavy populations. Now more than ever, it is excessively needed that agricultural technologies should be innovated and developed to increase their capabilities.
Agriculture technologies are also developing exponentially to meet the ever growing demands. In the last few decades agriculture has changed drastically, thanks to the introduction of supportive technologies including agricultural machines (tractors, tillers, harvesters, etc) irrigation systems, drones, sensors etc. All these have enabled the agricultural practices to be more capable. Moreover, the advent of certain non-conventional practices (like bio-farming, drip, sprinkler and drone based irrigation) have also paved the way towards an eco-friendly way of farming. This reduces the impact on natural ecosystems.
On the other hand food science and technology has also started to develop exponentially. This may be attributed to growing demands. Since most of the harvested crops or animal products cannot be directly consumed, the food processing industries which apply the food technologies to provide prepared edible items to consumers become extremely significant. Almost everything (including fruits and vegetables) goes through one or the other form of food processing before it is ready for us to consume. The increased load has compelled the food processing tech to develop and increase its capabilities. The forces driving the change in food tech are based on other exponentially growing technologies like automation and biotechnology. Together, various technologies enable the whole food processing industry to be able to consistently meet the growing demands along with keeping up with the quality standards of eatables and beverages.
Recent developments in agriculture and food tech are essential and they pack a vast potential too. Despite facing challenges like rising costs of supplies and resources, labor shortage and challenging climatic conditions, the agro industry is constantly developing. And it is these developments and that makes the whole industry to positively affect a large number of lives, providing job opportunities and reducing load on ecology.
For more information look at:
Good Food Institute – https://www.gfi.org/
UN Food resources – https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/food/index.html
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