Climate Change, Agriculture and Smart Solutions
The relationship between agriculture and climate change is extremely intertwined. On the one hand, agriculture, forestry, and other land use account for 24% of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions(1). After the energy sector, it is the second biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, an increase in extreme weather events like droughts and floods, and reductions in water availability result in reduced agricultural productivity. In 2050, the world population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion people. We need to ensure that our world’s agriculture system may feed this growing population in the face of a changing climate. One of the key solutions is smart agriculture.
Changing Climate, Population Growth and Agriculture
The latest IPCC Report mentions that “Human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred. Global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all emissions scenarios considered(2)”. The latest climate science is clear: we are going to live in a warmer world. A warmer world has many consequences including an increase in food insecurity. According to the UN , climate change causes severe problems such as hotter temperatures, more storms, droughts and floods. Changes in precipitation patterns will result in reduced agricultural productivity and proliferation in pests and weeds(3).
Agriculture by itself contributes to climate change. In every step of food production greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere. Methane and nitrous oxide, two powerful greenhouse gasses, are released in large quantities by farming. Methane is created by livestock after digestion as a result of enteric fermentation, and it is expelled through belches. It can also get out of landfills where manure and organic garbage are deposited. Organic and mineral nitrogen fertilizers produce nitrous oxide emissions as a byproduct.
The world population is expected to reach 9,8 billion people in 2050. Cutting forest area and tilling grassland to meet the rising population’s food requirements, results in soil degradation. The rising population creates enormous pressure on natural systems. People will consume more resource-intensive, animal-based diets as their wages rise. At the same time we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions caused by agriculture and deforestation.
“Most studies estimate that food and agriculture is responsible for 25% to 35% of global greenhouse gas emissions(4).” Our agriculture methods need to be revised.
Smart farming (also known as digital farming) is the application of modern information and communication technologies (ICT) in agriculture. According to ISDA, smart agriculture is harnessing data collection, analytics and machine learning to help farmers make robust decisions about what to grow, how to maximize their incomes and how to feed the planet in a sustainable way (5). The goal of smart farming is to make farming more reliable, predictable and sustainable by using concrete data. As Kök Projekt, we are curious about agriculture, water, food and energy sectors. We create databases. We’ve shared the Turkey Agriculture Ecosystem map where you can find smart agriculture startups in Turkey.
In a world where more severe climate events are occurring frequently because of climate change, concrete data is very important. Today farmers face many problems, droughts, floods, outbreaks are becoming more frequent. Yields are declining. Precision farming, a part of smart farming, may help farmers to make decisions based on concrete data and increase their yields. According to the EU, Precision Agriculture is a whole farm management approach using information technology, satellite positioning (GNSS) data, remote sensing and proximal data gathering(6). These technologies have the goal to increase productivity and economic returns while reducing impact on the environment.
Precision Farming is one of the oldest and most developed areas in smart agriculture technologies. The global precision farming market was valued at USD 6.96 billion in 2021, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.8 percent predicted from 2022 to 2030(7). Today the precision farming ecosystem is well established and there are many profitable companies. However, precision farming tools are not still easily accessible for small farmers.
In Turkey, we also have several precision farming startups that work for a more sustainable and profitable agriculture. We searched for them and put them on a map.
You can find our 2022 Precision Farming Startups Map Turkey here.
Quick Disclaimer: As a disclaimer, this map is by no means a full-scale and exhaustive map of the Turkish Precision Farming Startup Ecosystem.For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Precision Farming methods have several benefits. They offer input savings by using VRA (Variable Rate Application) technology to increase soil fertility while using necessary amounts of water and other inputs. Productivity increase is another benefit of precision farming. Thus, it may help to increase food security. Reduction in the use of fertilizers and water help to protect the environment and mitigate deforestation. It also helps to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Sustainable agriculture methods also find their places in SDGs. Sustainable Development Goal 2 focuses on ending hunger, achieving food security, improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. Sustainable Development Goal 13 urges action to combat climate change and its effects, Goal 15 aims to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss(8).
Climate change combined with population growth creates enormous pressure on the agriculture sector. We need new agricultural methods that respect the environment. In the coming years, technology will inevitably become cheaper, hopefully will be used by more farmers and help to create a more sustainable agriculture ecosystem.