With an ever-growing population, the land used for agricultural activity must become more productive. This means continuing to adapt with the technological changes that a modern world brings. One of those critical pieces of innovation provides support while being far away from any farmland: Satellites.
For 12,000 years, we have been continuously breeding crops aiming to increase their yield. Agricultural practices are the main determinant of the food production level and indirectly, being a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Conventional agricultural procedures date back to the mid-20th century with the initiation of the Green Revolution. Since then, agricultural production has been increasing tremendously, mostly due to the adoption of high-yielding varieties, chemical fertilisers, pesticides, irrigation and mechanisation.
Big Data can improve decision making for farmers and fishermen. The project 'Data-driven bio-economy' (DataBio) demonstrates the benefits of Big Data technologies in the production of raw materials from agriculture, forestry and fisheries. DataBio helps the bioeconomy industry to produce food, energy and biomaterials in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Successful agricultural operations depend on crop monitoring for nutrients, irrigation, diseases, and overall plant health. Traditionally this has been carried out by visual examination of crops on the ground. However, these methods are limited and only fighting the symptoms instead of proactively preventing them. Fortunately, precision agriculture provides solutions using artificial intelligence and hyperspectral imaging for optimized crop yield and fertilization while reducing environmental impact. The key is targeted application rather than whole-field treatment. But let’s not put the cart before the horse and define the underlying concepts before we dive deeper into the matter.
How can we continue to keep food production viable for ourselves and at the same time for our planet in a world where natural resources are becoming scarcer? One possible answer to this question can be aquaponics, a unique method of growing food that uses the normal functions of plants and fish to produce large amounts of food in compact spaces.
With the European Commission’s wishes to promote free Wi-Fi connectivity for citizens and visitors in public spaces in Europe through WiFi4EU, taking stock of the current development in rural areas seems appropriate. Our IoF2020 platform is showcasing the implementation of innovative technologies using the Internet of Things (IoT) in agriculture. The underlying premise for the proliferation of such innovations is an extensive connectivity, particularly in rural areas with high agricultural activity. Let’s have a closer look at this crucial connectivity.
We have yet to fully exploit the potential of information technologies. Among the multiple benefits they are offering, is the capacity to enable, empower, and incite tool sharing. One of them are decision support systems (DSS) which already have an important place within the precision agriculture approach.