Technology and the use of data in the agricultural sector

Johannesburg - “New technology is disrupting every industry, and agriculture is no exception”, says Liza de Beer, from Old Mutual Insure Retail business. 

However, since March 2020, this has been accelerated by the increased focus on the importance of agriculture for economic recovery and food security in future. 

Changing consumer behaviour and expectations 

Due to lockdown measures and the restrictions on the mobility of people, there is a significant increase in people going online for products and services, and for what they might not have used digital channels in the past. 

Consumers are discovering more productive and cost-effective methods to perform the same task, whether for transactions, education, business, or personal purposes. As a result, they are no longer expecting only the experience they were offered before but have now developed much higher expectations. 

This is causing irreversible changes in the way we live, eat, make purchases, and communicate. It contributes to changing consumer needs and shapes the way individuals and businesses want to connect and do business with local and global companies. 

How accelerated digital adoption is affecting business 

Various industries already offer channel-friendly solutions and access to various products within existing distribution and retail channels. Many businesses along the food chain are adapting to this change in consumer behaviour and demand, adjusting production lines, increase capacity to manage larger inventories, moving to online platforms and deliver directly to households.

Likewise, for the agriculture industry, adopting digital technology has become very important, especially in the wake of COVID-19. The quick progression of digital adoption has brought about a new mindset, and with farmers welcoming the future with an open mind by giving old and new technology a chance. 

Leveraging mobile technologies and devices, data analytics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), remote sensing, and various other products, services and platforms that are digitally delivered. 

Data capability is key for future farming 

Whether you are tracking freight volumes or produce movement, or to improve production, technology has made the collecting, organising and use of any data effortless. 

In a fast-changing and unpredictable agricultural environment, it has become even more important than before for farmers to collect real-time and accurate data to help improve decision making. 

Technology also enables farmers to obtain data that indicates, among other things, soil quality, moisture content, fertilizer and many more, this also results in a reduction in water consumption, energy, and fertilizer application. 

“The use of new technology and data will help the agricultural sector to modernise at a faster pace and to meet many challenges. Online platforms and digital solutions are also helping farmers to connect and interact easily with service providers and to effectively manage business with suppliers and stakeholders across the agricultural value chain”, concludes Liza. 

This article is intended to provide information and not any advice or legal advice. Visit our website at www.ominsure.co.za for information on our agricultural product solutions. 

 

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