As industries all over the world continue to undergo digital transformation, the agricultural sector in Asia is following suit as it is rapidly evolving. The transformation of the agriculture industry is primarily facilitated by smart technology solutions like artificial intelligence (AI).
Utilizing Artificial Intelligence as a Tool
Digital transformation in agriculture refers to the use of digital technologies to improve various aspects of farming and food production. These technologies include sensors, drones, precision agriculture, and data analytics, among others; effectively transforming traditional agriculture into smart agriculture.
One of the tools that have provided incredible value in agriculture is artificial intelligence or AI. Within Asia, there are several ways in which AI is being applied:
- Precision farming: AI can be used to optimize irrigation, fertilization, and pest control to improve crop yields. For example, sensors and drones equipped with AI can gather data on soil moisture, temperature, and nutrient levels, and use this information to tailor irrigation and fertilization schedules to individual crops.
- Predictive analytics: AI can be used to analyze data on weather patterns, soil conditions, and crop growth in order to make predictions about future crop yields. This can help farmers to make informed decisions about planting, fertilizing, and harvesting their crops.
- Supply chain management: AI can be used to optimize the distribution of agricultural products from farm to market, reducing waste and increasing efficiency. For example, AI can be used to predict demand for different products, and to optimize transportation routes and schedules.
- Animal husbandry: AI can be used to optimize the care and feeding of livestock, improving their health and welfare, and increasing efficiency. For example, AI-powered sensors can monitor the health and behavior of animals, and alert farmers to any problems that may arise.
As reported by Nikkei Asia, the application of artificial intelligence in agriculture is already happening in countries like Japan as foreign companies are introducing such technology to the Asian market. Specifically, Yamazaki Rice recently utilized an AI system called ‘Xarvio Field Manager’ from BASF, a Germany-based multinational chemical company. Through predictive analytics and satellite mapping, the AI system allows farmers to gain insight into future weather patterns conducive to crop growth. Further, through these forecasts, the AI system is also able to predict how much pesticide is needed within a crop’s growing cycle, thus preventing the waste of valuable farming resources.
Outlook of Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture
While smart agriculture and the application of AI are achievable in the current context and will undoubtedly offer several worthwhile advantages, potential investors should first consider the potential implications that its implantation will result in.
For instance, AI in agriculture could lead to the displacement of some jobs, particularly in manual labor and certain technical roles. Although, it is also possible that AI technology will instead act as a supplementary tool that workers can utilize in their day-to-day tasks. Another potential implication that the use of AI can bring forth is the need for improved data privacy or general cybersecurity. AI tools involve large amounts of data collection and analysis, which means that proper collection, storage, and use of this information will become more relevant in the future as it could lead to major lapses in confidentiality within the agricultural industry.
Given these implications, the involved parties should focus on exploring ways how to gradually integrate and holistically adopt AI in agriculture. Doing so will allow interested parties to take full advantage of AI’s benefits, while also avoiding the potential harm that it can bring to stakeholders within the agriculture industry.
Overall, the use of smart technology tools such as AI in agriculture has the potential to increase crop yields, reduce waste and costs, and improve the sustainability of farming practices. However, it is important to consider the potential social and economic impacts of AI adoption in the agriculture sector, as well as the need to ensure that the technology is accessible and affordable for small-scale farmers.
To get insight into other important trends in the agriculture industry within Asia, subscribe to our newsletter here and check out these reports: