What are the Greatest Farming Challenges of this Decade?

In a world where resources are harder than ever to find, with a global population dramatically growing, climate changes are affecting every aspect of billions of lives. Technological, process, and cultural advancements are desperately needed to do more with less as a global community. This paradigm shift is especially true in the agriculture space.
By focusing on four key challenges this article explores the global socio-economic trends and the emerging challenges faced by the agriculture industry.
1. Feeding 2 billion more people

The growing population creates a demand for food. By 2050, we will need to feed two billion more people (for context, China’s population is 1.4 billion, as of 2019). At that time, the world population will reach 9.8 billion, while the land size will stay the same. Environmental agriculture challenges are enormous, and population growth is not the only reason we will need more food. Prosperity will spread across the globe, and the demand for food such as meat, eggs, and dairy increases year-over-year. Therefore, there is a need to grow more corn, soybeans and more to feed the livestock. If this trend continues, the population growth and wealthy nutrition will require us to double the number of crops we grow by 2050.

greatest farming challenges

2. The Impact of COVID-19 on the World


Covid-19 has clearly changed the world order. Mobility restrictions mainly affect the small farms as they become a primary source in the global supply chains. COVID-19 limitations emphasize the power and importance of having local providers. On the one hand, this is an opportunity for small farmers to get stronger and stabilize their position in the market; while on the other hand, they depend on outside workers facing mobility challenges due to the COVID-19. Additionally, lower sales volumes affect the farmers, who need to contain the extra costs. In the long term, this new situation requires all the stakeholders to adjust to new practices.


3. Climate Change and Global Warming


The combination of climate change and global warming directly affects the farmers’ livelihood, lands, livestock, and as an outcome - our food supply. Farmers are faced with unpredictable and uncertain conditions that will only get worse in the years to come:


  • Floods and droughts – intensive and massive rain periods combined with longer dry seasons are becoming standard patterns.
  • Temperature average – the world is getting warmer, and the global surface temperature continues to rise. Extreme heatwaves are more frequent every year. 
  • Pests and weed problems – as the weather continues to change, new pests and weeds species develop resistance to pesticides.

These circumstances impact the farmers’ selection of which crops and livestock to grow, and to rethink their possibilities, search for new markets, evaluate financial investments, loss of time, equipment damage and causes unsafe working conditions. 


4. Urbanization and Its Impact on Modern Life 


Approximately half (50%) of the world’s population lives in urban areas. Massive migrations from rural to urban areas significantly lead to a low workforce in the fields. Modern life creates more job opportunities, but it is true that the farmers’ daily repetitive and tedious work evolves with technological advancement.​

​‘These trends are here to stay.  The fact is that our population is growing, climate change continues to push our limits, and people are moving to urban life, leaving the farm work behind. The agriculture industry must find a way to foster itself.’ 

- Hadas Topor-Cohen (HARMAN Senior Director, Product Management, Marketing)


Since 2000, the trend has been clear - the agriculture industry is suffering from a decrease in workforce. As countries become wealthier, the requirement to produce other (more lucrative) supplies apart from food increases. Therefore, agricultural workforces are moving into more stable, high paying jobs inside and outside the industry. In 2000, 40% of the global workforce was employed in agriculture. In 2019, that share dropped dramatically to 27%.


Another impact is that certain jobs on the farm are available only seasonally and the rest of the time, the workforce is low. As incomes increase, consumers can afford more protein and rich diets - including meat, dairy, fruit, vegetables, and fewer grains, roots, and tubers. The ‘food experience’ is creating demand for more processed and prepared foods, and this will continue in the long run. As a result, new employment opportunities will appear outside the farm in food processing factories, logistics, and other services.​​

​HARMAN Solutions for Agriculture


Leveraging decades of experience in this industry, HARMAN supports agricultural vehicle manufacturers worldwide to securely and efficiently manage the multitude of special-purpose vehicles’ configurations and software. HARMAN OTA (Over-the-Air) solution enables connected agricultural vehicle manufacturers to greatly reduce equipment downtime and maintenance costs thanks to remote software updates, configuration, and enhancement of their deployed equipment. Greater use of Smart Farming technologies, such as OTA software updates, is vital to improving a farm’s financial performance and yield.


To learn more, watch our OTA for Agriculture Animation​ today, or schedule a meeting with us to learn more about our products and services for Agriculture vehicle manufacturers.


Sources:


https://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/feeding-9-billion/

https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/climate-change-and-agriculture

https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/agriculture/our-insights/agricultures-connected-future-how-technology-can-yield-new-growth

http://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/777731585054424384/pdf/The-Future-of-Work-in-Agriculture-Some-Reflections.pdf

https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/gr/Documents/consumer-business/gr_Transforming_Agriculture_through_Digital_Technologies_noexp.pdf​​​

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