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The global market for smart agriculture is projected to reach US$18.7bn by the year 2027, trailing a post-COVID-19 CAGR of 9.4% over the analysis period 2020 through 2027, according to a report by ResearchAndMarkets
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in large scale disruptions in supply chains across the world in the first half of 2020. Lockdowns, closures and other measures adopted by authorities worldwide led to severe operational constraints for farm equipment manufacturers.
Numerous production sites of agriculture equipment manufacturers faced delays and interruptions in the supply chain, along with labour shortage and low customer activity. Most of the production facilities were suspended owing to supply chain disruptions. The delay in production and shipment further resulted in a drop in retail sales.
With the COVID-19 outbreak unfolding on a global scale, disruptions in food supply chains, income and remittance losses, and effects of other shocks on the agriculture sector have become evident, thereby creating food security risks in many countries across the world. Although global food prices continue to be mostly stable, varying levels of food price inflation is being observed in several nations at the retail level because of the measures taken to contain COVID-19 transmission.
In the post-COVID-19 period, the agriculture industry is set to undergo notable transformation due to the continuous influx and implementation of new concepts and technologies. The shift is expected to help farmers in revolutionising operations for better yields, environmental gains and less wastage.
AI holds immense potential to help the agriculture industry to become smarter and efficient while reducing waste. COVID-19 outbreak has accelerated the adoption of AI-powered technologies in the industry. Agriculture professionals are realising notable benefits of using drones for tasks like seeding, field surveying and spraying while keeping farmers safe.
Drone flights in the agriculture industry have increased 32% over 2018-2019, indicating an increasing focus on drones. In addition, increasing agricultural automation is anticipated to further drive the trend and transform farm practices. Emerging technologies such as AI and automation are likely to help farmers in ensuring smart planting, while integration of drone software in equipment management is expected to support analysis of conditions.
AI-powered solutions are being widely used for detecting weeds, water issues, nitrogen deficiencies and pests to remediation like spraying of herbicides and pesticides. Advanced solutions leverage AI along with cameras on crop sprayers for detecting and spraying agrochemicals with a high degree of precision. In addition, drone-based data can be used for detecting deficiency of specific elements to inform sprayers of deficient areas only.