15TH JUNE, 2021

We WILL Run Out of Food in LESS Than 30 Years: Could AgriTech Save Us?

The production of food will always be a constant source of concern due to the expanding population.” – FeedDough 

In less than 30 years, the global population will have reached 9.8 billion and the demand for food will be 60% higher

But, but due to urbanization, climate change, water shortages and soil degradation, there will be 100,000 fewer hectares to farm on per year. As a consequence, scientists have warned that the supply of staple crops is likely to fall by 40% and, as a population, we will starve if we don’t do something about it now. 

But what can we do? 

Invest in innovative AgriTech solutions. 

What is AgriTech and how does it work? 

AgriTech, or agricultural technology, is where technical innovations are used by the agricultural industry to increase the production, efficiency and profitability of agricultural activities. 

The fundamental purpose of AgriTech is to automate arduous, manual tasks and replace back-breaking manual positions (which are also becoming increasingly hard to fill with the lack of seasonal workers post-Brexit), with technology. Automating manual agricultural tasks means quicker, more efficient production with fewer mistakes. 

For instance, AgriTech can enable faster planting, more efficient harvesting and also enable modified crops to grow in different environments. 

It is the application of technology to produce more with less, to make the farming process more efficient.” – Investment Monitor 

In basic terms, AgriTech uses technology to allow agricultural companies to produce more, with less. 

Why is AgriTech such a key industry? 

Traditional agricultural methods are simply not sustainable enough for us to achieve food security for a rapidly growing population, lower our carbon footprint, and maintain the health of our livestock.” – CPI 

Because of the damage we’ve done to the environment, traditional farming and agricultural methods will no longer be capable of feeding the extra 2 billion mouths we’re likely to see in 30 years’ time. Global agricultural production will need to double in the next 30 years to cope with the extra demand. So, if we don’t invest in AgriTech now, we will run out of food by 2050.

What types of AgriTech does the agricultural industry need to adopt? 

But it’s not all doom and gloom. With an estimated growth rate of 150% over the next five years, AgriTech is now one of the fastest-growing global industries. And, as a result, there are plenty of innovative AgriTech solutions emerging, like smart farming for example. 

What is smart farming?   

Smart Farming should provide the farmer with added value in the form of better decision making or more efficient exploitation operations and management.” – Smart Akis

Smart farming is the use of ‘smart tech’ like AI, IoT and robotics to optimise and improve the productivity and efficiency of working farms. 

Some examples of smart farming include: 

Automated irrigation: Automated irrigation uses timers, sensors and apps to automatically control the supply of water to crops. Because these irrigation systems are automated, they can increase crop yield whilst saving water and energy costs. 

Precision Farming: Precision farming utilises tools like sensors, satellites and drones to collect data which can then be used to make accurate and informed decisions. Like, for instance, what crops to grow, which fields to sow and when to plant etc…This enables farmers to use their resources more effectively which then reduces the need for harmful fertilisers, herbicides, emissions and soil compaction. 

Hydroponics: Hydroponics is a way of growing crops without soil. The exact nutrients in exactly the right quantities are added to a water solution and sprayed over growing plants. Because the plants don’t need soil to develop they can be grown inside, all year round and remain insulated from the effects of climate change. 

Agri-robots: Agri-robots can be programmed through artificial intelligence (AI) to take on manual agricultural tasks like herbicide spraying, shepherding, seeding, harvesting, and more. Not only does this solve the seasonal labour shortage issue, but because machine learning robots are designed to make fewer errors than humans, these sorts of tasks can be completed to a higher standard with up to 90% less input.

What does the future look like for AgriTech? 

AgriTech can be the tool to produce more food, while assuring there is less food waste, and also potentially increasing transparency and trust in the supply chain for the consumer.” – Investment Monitor 

With government-funded initiatives like the R&D tax credit scheme, more and more companies are now able to develop and launch innovative AgriTech products, service and solutions designed to make farming processes more efficient. 

What is the government-funded R&D tax credit scheme? 

Launched in 2000, the government-funded R&D tax credit scheme gives companies the chance to claim either a tax rebate or a cash reimbursement for up to 33.35% of the costs of their innovative projects and R&D activities. 

How do you claim R&D tax relief? 

You can either speak to R&D tax relief specialists like Myriad Associates, who can work with you to make sure you claim the maximum amount of R&D tax credit as possible. Or you can use an online R&D tax credit portal, like Tax Cloud

What is Tax Cloud? 

Tax Cloud is the UK’s first online R&D tax relief portal. The entire R&D process is broken down into easy-to-follow steps which you can work your way through to submit your R&D claim in your own time. Tax Cloud is supported by R&D tax experts Myriad Associates who are on hand to answer questions, offer advice and make sure you get the maximum possible R&D tax claim pay-out from HMRC. 

To find out more, visit the website, call us on 0207 118 6045, or drop us a message here

Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA
Author Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA CEO, Tax Cloud
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