Technology has played a big role in developing the agricultural industry. Today it is possible to grow crops in a desert by use of agricultural biotechnology. With this technology, plants have been engineered to survive in drought conditions. Through genetic engineering scientists have managed to introduce traits into existing genes with a goal of making crops resistant to droughts and pests.
Lets take a good example. A bacterium known as ”Bacillus Thuringiensis” acts like a reservoir , it enables crops to be insect-resistant , so these genetically modified crops will grow without any interference from pests. The invention of this technology is being used in developing countries to grow cash crops like cotton, since this genetically engineered cotton plants are pest resistant, they grow better than the normal cotton plants hence yielding good results.
From my past article ”Use of technology today and tomorrow” i mentioned the use of mobile apps by a farmer to calculate the amount of grass available in the field. This saves the farmer time and money, they will know how much is left and what to feed their animals. Technology has turned farming into a real business, now farmers have electrified every process, a consumer can place an order directly online, and the product will be transported from the farm to the consumer in time when it’s still fresh. This saves the farmer money and it cuts out mediators who tend to buy low from farmers and sell high to end consumers. Every farmer uses this technology in their own way. Some use it to create fertilizers, others use it to market their products, and others use it in production. So as a farmer, you have to specify what you need. Below is a summary on the use of Technology in agriculture:
- Use of machines on farms. Now a farmer can cultivate on more than 2 acres of land with less labor, and can cut costs even more when they are looking for a used tractor and other harvesting technology, versus new equipment. The use of planters and harvesters makes the process so easy. In agriculture, time and production are so important; you have to plant in time, harvest in time and deliver to stores in time. Modern agricultural technology allows a small number of people to grow vast quantities of food and fiber in a shortest period of time.
- Modern transportation: This helps in making products available on markets in time from the farm. With modern transportation, consumers in Dubai will consume a fresh carrots from Africa with in the same day that carrot lives the garden in Africa. Modern transportation technology facilities help farmers easily transport fertilizers or other farm products to their farms, and it also speeds the supply of agricultural products from farms to the markets where consumers get them on a daily basis.
- Cooling facilities: These are used buy farmers to deliver tomatoes and other perishable crops to keep them fresh as they transport them to the market. These cooling facilities are installed in food transportation trucks, so crops like tomatoes will stay fresh upon delivery. This is a win-win situation for both the consumers of these agricultural products and the farmers. How? the consumers gets these products while still fresh and the farmer will sell all their products because the demand will be high.
- Genetically produced plants like potatoes, can resist diseases and pests, which rewards the farmer with good yields and saves them time. These crops grow very fast they produce healthy yields. Since they are resistant to most diseases and pests, the farmer will spend less money on pesticides, which in return increases on their (RIO) return on investment.
- Development of animal feeds. This has solved the problem of hunting for grass to feed animals, now these feeds can be manufactured and consumed by animals. The price of these feed is fair so that a low income farmer can afford them. Most of these manufactured animal feeds have extra nutrition which improve on the animals health and the out put of these animals will also increase. In agriculture , the health of an animal will determine its output. Poorly feed animals are always unhealthy and they produce very little results in form of milk, meet , or fur.
- Breeding of animals which are resistant to diseases. Most of these genetically produced animals will produce more milk or fur compared to normal animals. This benefits the farmer because their production will be high. Cross breeding is very good in animal grazing, cross breed animals are more strong and productive.
- Irrigation of plants. In dry areas like deserts, farmers have embraced technology to irrigate their crops. A good example is in Egypt, were farmers use water pumps to collect water from river Nile to their crops. Most of these farmers grow rice which needs a lot of water, so they manage to grow this rice using irrigation methods enhanced by advanced technology. Advanced water sprinklers are being used to irrigate big farms and this helps the crops get enough water which is essential in their growth. Some farmers mix nutrients in this water, so also improves on the growth of these crops.
Serious research has been undertaken to publish this content, so you're in the right place. I love technology, I believe embracing its potential for personal, business or educational advancement will pave the way forward for us all. We've all heard "knowledge is power", with this website I hope, to some degree, to empower you!
U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia William E. Todd | U.S. Department of State |
As I learn more about the Khmer language, I am amazed by the number of proverbs that relate to agriculture. One of my favorites is “Riding a buffalo across mud is easier than swimming,” which essentially means that you should take advantage of the resources at your disposal rather than making things more difficult for yourself. That proverb kept running through my mind during a recent U.S. Embassy-organized seminar that focused on the challenges facing the agricultural sector and possible solutions using modern technology. How can Cambodia “ride the buffalo” towards increased production, higher incomes for farmers, improved nutrition, and better food security?
Agriculture is the most important sector of the Cambodian economy. It employs almost 80 percent of the population and in 2012 amounted to 36 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Yet over 34 percent of Cambodian children are malnourished and 70 percent of producers are engaged in near-subsistence farming. While Cambodian jasmine rice won the award for World’s Best Rice at the 2013 World Rice Traders Conference in Hong Kong for the second year in a row – a terrific accomplishment – much of the sector’s potential remains untapped.
One of the primary constraints to increased productivity and profitability stems from the limited use of modern farming technology, equipment, and inputs. For example, although effective irrigation technology is available, Cambodian agriculture continues to rely heavily on fragile rain-fed systems focused on paddy rice production. The use of modern equipment could also make harvests more efficient and help to move produce to market more quickly and in better condition. Finally, modern agricultural inputs such as seeds, agro-chemicals, and fertilizers can dramatically reduce losses. I recently read that up to 40 percent of the world’s potential crop production is lost annually due to the effects of weeds, pests, and diseases.
These solutions are within Cambodia’s reach. The adoption of modern technology such as “precision farming” – a new technique that boosts crop yields and reduces waste by using satellite maps and computers to match seed, fertilizer, and crop protection applications to local soil conditions – can pay for itself. This is farming in the 21st century, and it is technology that is accessible to all farmers, not just those in the United States. Precision farming also offers greater export opportunities as we’ve seen in the United States, where one-third of farm acres are planted for export, resulting in over $140 billion in U.S. agricultural exports in 2013. Moreover, modern farming does not necessarily mean corporate farming – 97 percent of all American farms are still operated by individuals, family partnerships, or family corporations.
So how can Cambodia ride the buffalo across the mud? By utilizing proven modern farming techniques and science-based solutions, which are readily available in Cambodia, farmers can increase productivity, efficiency, and profitability as well as reduce malnutrition and enhance food security. These techniques also pay for themselves. The increased productivity, even for small land holders, means that they can afford many of the needed inputs. For more expensive equipment, farmers have the option of pooling their resources to share ownership.
The United States is also providing scientific expertise and assistance to Cambodian producers. Under the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative, USAID is assisting Cambodian farmers to diversify their incomes with different crops and seasonal rotations and engaging the private sector to provide services and agriculture inputs such as fertilizers and farming tools. Over the past three years, USAID programs have led to increased productivity and incomes for thousands of small-scale rice farmers. USAID also supports the global research of the International Rice Research Institute, which is helping to develop new rice varieties and crop management techniques to improve production and sustainability worldwide. All of these efforts are helping the agricultural sector grow into a sustainable business model based on modern technology.
This post originally appeared on Ambassador Todd's official blog. Learn more about Feed the Future's work in Cambodia.
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