Monday, October 2, 2023

Latin American Countries with The Adoption of Precision Agriculture

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About Precision Agriculture in Latin America

The last two decades have been very crucial to the world as we witnessed a wave of technological advancements in almost each and every sector, and undeniably Agriculture is one of those. It would be unfair to dig through the advances in agriculture without talking about Latin American Countries. The gigantically vast area, alongside the favorable climatic conditions, has categorized the region as highly fortunate over the years in terms of numerous agricultural produce.

However, catering to the ever-increasing population while dealing with water scarcity and keeping up with the current cropping area remains challenging. And this is where the need for digitalization of farming comes up in order to meet the food demands more sustainably. In particular, Digital Agriculture integrates the other concepts known as Precision Farming and Smart Farming. Although Smart is something we have been gravitating toward over the years, Precision Farming has yet to catch up in finding substantial grounds.

Market for Precision Agriculture in Latin America 

According to the research report published by Markntel Advisors for the forecast period, 2023-28, The Market for Precision Agriculture in Latin America is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 12%, clearly hinting at the expansion of Precision Agriculture across the region.

Smart Farming Vs Precision Farming

With the advent of Agriculture 4.0, a new concept called Smart farming was conceived, which called for the incorporation of new technologies to facilitate maximum resource utilization while downsizing the carbon footprints. These technologies primarily include IoT, big data, blockchain, machinery, drones, robotics, and artificial intelligence, intended for managing plantations, farms, and all accompanying farming activities. Overall, the inclusion of advanced technology and Artificial intelligence is the key focus.

While another term, Precision Farming, often used interchangeably with Smart Farming, also sprung up. The term centers on satellite crop management or site-specific crop management used to bring to the table an effective decision support system for complete farm management. As the name suggests, the goal is to precisely analyze captured vital field data and strive for more accurate, controlled, and optimized agricultural production while efficiently utilizing resources.

Best Part of Precision Agriculture

The best part is that all this is done without getting any dent in the environment. To further simplify it, let’s understand this with an example of a focused agrochemical application, where the blanked application is avoided, and only vulnerable areas focused on that have been identified using AI-aided analysis. Therefore, in this case, precise supervision is based on observing, measuring, and responding to inter- and intra-field variability in crops.

“In February 2022, Trimble Inc. launched its Virtual Farm, an interactive online experience for farmers across the world to immerse themselves in precision agriculture by having users walk through a digital farm and identify common challenges they encounter daily.”

To make it more effective, the precision is often done using advanced technologies, such as Automation and Control System hardware, including GPS/GNSS System, Guidance and Steering System, Flow and Application Rate Control Solutions, Handheld Computers/ Mobile devices, Agriculture Cameras, etc., and Sensing and Monitoring hardware such as Yield Monitors, Sensing Systems, and others. Other than this, the Software and Services are also there, forming the precision farming peripheries.

Current Status of Precision Farming in Latin America

Agriculture, other than Mining, has been one of the primary contributors to the economy of the region, making it extremely crucial for the countries here to look for a little less laborious and a lot more rewarding farm management. Unfortunately, although splashes of Agriculture 4.0 waves have touched the region, PA is still in its infancy. In particular, South America, being the primary main grain and protein producer globally, is yet to attain satisfactory levels of digital agriculture.

The most prominent contributor, Brazil accounts for more than 50 percent of the world’s soybean trade, using 17 percent of the country’s arable land. The country has gained significant traction in terms of agricultural produce, and to substantiate this, let’s have a look at the data that says agricultural exports account for around 1/3 of the total exports and its value has surged from 2000 to 2021, with an average of 9.4 percent a year.

Adoption of Digital Darming is Concerned

According to a paper from the proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Precision Agriculture in Latin America, 2022, Brazil and Argentina have been the forerunners as far as the adoption of digital farming is concerned. Nonetheless, Uruguay and Chile are resolutely chasing them with significant adoption of GPS guidance systems, mapping tools, mobile apps, and remote sensing demonstrated. However, expensive technology, inadequate service providers, and inaccessibility of farmers to high-level training co-exist, only to make the expansion more challenging.

Taking Everything into Account

Taking Everything into Account Precision or Smart Agriculture has undoubtedly opened a gateway for immense possibilities for agriculture-dominant countries worldwide. Therefore, Latin America, being home to many of those countries, must emphasize embracing advanced technologies and encourage awareness among the farmers. Furthermore, by benchmarking future research and extension projects, Latin America will most likely reap Precision Agriculture’s benefits.

Another Recommended Read For You – The Benefits of Controlled Environment Agriculture for Sustainable Farming

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