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The technology behind a new agricultural revolution

Every day, the global population increases by around 200,000 people. Most live in urban areas, so for perspective, imagine a city the size of Seattle sprouting every four days, or a new Tokyo every month. By 2050, Earth is projected to be home to ten billion people. To feed them, we will need to increase crop production by at least 60 percent, writes Matt Harman in this blog article published by ESRI.

Yet climate change, water scarcity, and soil erosion will force us to rethink how we grow crops. And rampant urbanization, with so many people living far away from agricultural areas, will force us to find more efficient ways to distribute food.

The first agricultural “Green Revolution” met the challenges of the post-World War II era with breakthroughs in pesticides, fertilizers, and irrigation. These methods helped feed a growing population, but their environmental impact made them unsustainable.

The second Green Revolution was largely concerned with maximizing output using crop selection and eventually genetic modification.

A new method of farming emerged in the 1980s, based on a combination of biological inputs and location intelligence. Known as precision agriculture (PA), this innovation reconfigured farms of all sizes. And now, location and mapping technologies are enabling farmers to use just enough resources, allocated where they are needed. It’s a new agricultural revolution—one that aims to fuel prosperity while also maintaining environmental sustainability.

The third green revolution builds on established PA practices, while creating a larger picture of the agricultural landscape farmers are operating within. Precision sustainable agriculture (PSA) methods combine PA with advances in big data analysis. The result is a holistic approach to farming that unites isolated agricultural sites into a sustainably global whole.

Source: ESRI. Read the full article here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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