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World agriculture 2030: Main findings- (Report and Video)

Imagine a farmer who, rather than relying on his gut instincts, lets farm management software apply smart algorithms and a large pool of field data to make the daily decisions on how to work his fields. Instead of sitting on equipment outdoors, he and a handful of associates operate all the equipment for a farm covering thousands of hectares from a control room.

GPS-guided autonomous drones constantly provide the data required for the algorithms, and other GPS-guided equipment works the fields with precision, sometimes even at the level of the individual plant. The crops have been genetically engineered to resist most fungi, viruses, and insects and are highly efficient in their uptake and use of nutrients. As a result, the farm needs less fertilizer, water, and crop protection than it did in the past.

This scenario may sound like a vision of farming’s future, but most of the individual elements are already available today to early adopters—and not just at very large farms in the U.S., Latin America, and Russia. In Germany, for example, groups of farmers have “virtually consolidated” their small plots by working across field boundaries using GPS-guided equipment and a smart data-driven approach. This technology allows them to precisely allocate yields to each of the group’s members, who realize the synergies and benefits of scale enjoyed by large farms without having to unify ownership of their plots.

We expect the adoption of smart systems that integrate big data and analytics software, wireless connectivity, advanced equipment, and even molecular biology to increase dramatically through 2030. By integrating inputs, farmers will gain better control over them, thereby driving a step change in productivity and yields and altering agricultural value pools and business models.

To thrive in this new environment, businesses providing equipment and inputs to farmers, as well as nontraditional players like providers of digital services, should take action now to adapt their strategies and capabilities and prepare for the changing landscape.

To help companies tackle this challenge, The Boston Consulting Group has explored the key trends that will reshape agriculture during the next 15 to 20 years. Our research included an analysis of all agricultural patents registered worldwide from 2012 through 2018 and interviews with a panel of European farmers, as well as with selected industry experts. Although our research focused on Europe, the strategic implications are applicable globally. Companies can apply our findings to develop the strategies and capabilities that will allow them to harvest value from emerging business models in agriculture.

In just over one year, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were put in place to tackle the most pressing issues on the planet, from fighting hunger to improving environmental sustainability, will expire. The ‘post-2015’ agenda will take over, which we expect to take the form of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which in turn will expire in 2030.

To highlight the key areas that these SDGs must address – Farming First has produced an infographic that explores what the world could look like in 2030 for food and farming. Agriculture plays a unique role in feeding the growing population, and if managed well, can protect the environment and mitigate climate change. Yet there are many challenges that this sector will face.

For example, as the infographic highlights, per capita consumption of food is going to increase greatly. People consuming 2,500 – 3,000 calories per day in the developing world will increase by 66%:Yet as consumption rises, global crop yields are predicted to go down. The growth rate of rice in particular could decrease by 23%, at least in part as a result of climate change. Furthermore, prices of these vital food crops are set to rise between 75 and 90% by 2030.

South Africa and its politicians need to take notice if this- We can produce more food- but we need solid farmers for the future


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