COVID-19 is one of those moments, except it’s being experienced by every person, every government, and every business on planet earth, all change forces us to adapt or suffer the consequences. While commodity-scale farmers brace for uncertainty, some small farmers are seeing an unexpected silver lining amid the chaos.
As grocery store shelves are being emptied faster than they can replenish and supply chains hit with countless delays or outright stoppages, farmers have found themselves uniquely poised to feed the hungry masses.
Finding ways of supporting farmers to keep producing food and to remain connected to markets is essential.
Helping farmers adopt labor-saving practices that compensate for reduced labor availability caused by sick family members, limitations on collective labor, and restrictions on the movement of people to producers’ fields is also important.
I’m not sure that the Coronavirus outbreak moves the needle one way or the other regarding farmer’s attitudes toward AgTech. I do sense that there is heightened concern over things like supply chain issues and potential labor issues because of the virus.
In that regard, the adoption of productivity, organization and information gathering tools could potentially accelerate.
The use of cutting-edge remote-sensing tools, combined with machine learning, offers a promising approach to map disruptions in crop production. Data collection using cell phones can be deployed at scale to monitor the global impacts of COVID-19 on farmers and consumers.
Agricultural technologies, especially digital agriculture solutions, offer a range of important opportunities to address the impacts of COVID-19 on agricultural production, labor availability, input supply, and logistics. Drones and other digital extension tools can also help farmers adopt labor- and input-saving practices, while digital agriculture solutions that link farmers to buyers and logistics services could help reduce the impacts of control measures related to COVID-19 on aggregators and supply chains.
A Clean-Future Exclusive’ contributed by Kunal Tiwari, Vice President-Global Business Strategy & Partnership, SourceTrace Systems