Growing Healthy Food and Meeting SDGs through Technology
Growing healthy food is nearly becoming a hassle due to global warming, making quick climate action the need of the hour for biodiversity conservation. Sustainable development goals, renewable energy, and SDG technology are the answers to supporting sustainable farming that takes care of even small farmers to tackle pressing issues of environmental sustainability and food security, all driving significant changes in the food and agricultural sectors today.
Food systems are failing to address the complex global environmental, social, and economic concerns of the twenty-first century. The production, distribution, and consumption of food are influenced by a number of issues, including social inequality, poverty, malnutrition, water shortages, land degradation, and climate change. Modern farming practices have an effect on the health of people and ecosystems because they release greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contaminate freshwater, degrade soil, and reduce biodiversity.
Amidst these shifts, digital technology crops up as a key factor that can both open up new markets and opportunities and greatly improve the efficiency of our food system.
How Digital Tools Can Harvest Good Health of the Agricultural Sector
Digital technologies contribute to increased efficiency, transparency, and trust in the agri-food industry. They use data analytics, digital models, automation, sensors, simulations, and other technology tools to enable process monitoring, cost savings, and improved customer experiences.
Reducing Food Wastage
By facilitating real-time data exchange, encouraging stakeholder contact, forecasting food quality, enhancing energy efficiency, reducing food waste, and optimizing resource management, digitalization successfully addresses sustainability issues in food systems. Digital technologies have become ubiquitous in increasing efficiency and refining decision-making processes across all stages of food production, from advancing genetic enhancements to optimizing farm management and transportation networks while fulfilling consumer needs.
Let’s hear it from Evantono Balin Christianto, Chief Operating Officer, Haldin, who says, “In terms of industry 4.0, relying on IoT helps a lot of business owners to simplify and make sure that the center-line of its stack of the process is in place.
Through technology, one of the positive things we can do is real-time monitoring to make sure the process will deliver the best quality of the product.
Now, the main challenge for the agricultural world is the uncertainty in terms of the climate. With technology, agriculture will get more precise data for forecasting the climate because it is one of the key variables of sustainable farming.
In the horticulture value chain, cutting food loss and increasing energy efficiency are two critical areas where digital solutions are significant. Stakeholders can address difficulties related to climate adaptation and mitigation by minimizing waste at different stages of the supply chain through the integration of software-driven solutions. In the postharvest supply chain, for example, wireless sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) devices can allow for real-time monitoring of crops throughout storage and transportation, enabling prompt interventions to prevent spoilage or loss.
Lower Energy Consumption
To optimize process performance in postharvest operations such as drying, cooling, fermentation, extraction, packing, and others, food manufacturers can also make use of robotics, smart materials, and AI-driven mobile apps. This can successfully lower energy consumption and waste. Software and digital solutions are essentially environmental impact mitigaters and catalysts for sustainable behaviors, encouraging energy efficiency, decreasing food loss, and improving overall food value chain sustainability. A sustainable agri-food system can be fueled by digitalization in the following ways, particularly for the horticulture value chain:
Gather Information on Crop Health
Precision agriculture is made possible by digital technologies such as satellite imaging, drones, and wireless remote sensors. By gathering information on crop health, soil quality, and moisture content, farmers may maximize the use of inputs like herbicides, fertilizers, and water. Furthermore, the adoption of smart farming techniques—such as automated irrigation systems, climate control in greenhouses, and data-driven mobile or web crop management platforms—is facilitated by the integration of advanced software into farming processes. By using real-time data and accurate farming inputs, farmers may minimize resource waste, cut energy consumption, and lessen the environmental effects of their farming methods.
Creating a Digital Marketplace and Cutting Off the Middleman
By cutting out middlemen and guaranteeing that consumers receive fresher products, a digital marketplace that links farmers and buyers directly promotes efficient transactions, fair pricing, and decreased postharvest food waste. Furthermore, farmers may better match supply with demand by optimizing the supply chain. This lowers the need for wasteful energy use in the production, storage, and transportation of excess items that might otherwise go to waste. Furthermore, putting in place a digital marketplace platform greatly increases the fresh produce supply chain's scalability and openness.
By continuously monitoring many parameters, including temperature, humidity, and storage conditions, digital food sensors and Internet of Things devices significantly contribute to the improvement of the agricultural landscape. By guaranteeing ideal conditions for storage and transportation to enhance the quality of the final fruit, these solutions aid in the major reduction of postharvest losses.
Transparency and Traceability
By enhancing transparency and traceability, blockchain technology can be used in postharvest supply chains to prevent food fraud and guarantee food safety. Produce's complete path, from its source on the farm to its arrival on the table of the consumer, may be tracked and verified through the use of blockchain technology. Additionally, incorporating blockchain technology encourages ethical sourcing and fair trade standards in addition to providing protection against fraudulent activity. By giving them knowledge about the product's origins, growing techniques, and handling procedures, it empowers customers to make decisions that are consistent with their values and tastes. In postharvest supply chains, blockchain essentially improves food safety standards, fosters consumer trust, and supports sustainable food supply chain activities.
Predictive analysis is facilitated by the creation of in-silico virtual models for crops, sometimes referred to as digital twins or digital shadows. By simulating various scenarios, farmers and other value chain participants, including logistics companies, may optimize tactics for higher yields, lower losses, and more sustainable practices. For instance, this method enables the evaluation of growth conditions and techniques in real-time and their effects on food quality after harvest. It is possible to anticipate important parameters like weight loss, overall fruit quality, freshness, remaining shelf life, and spoiling at different stages with this type of mechanistic or data-driven simulation of the food value chain.