Given our focus on agriculture technology, we are always happy to see new innovations making a global impact. Below are recent articles highlighting how developments in agriculture technology can be used to address global food security.
From the Entrepreneurs’ Garage to the Dinner Table by Jonathan Ortmans on Entrepreneurship.org
Global food demand is expected to increase 70% by 2050, accompanied by an equally significant rise in food prices according to a study found in “AgTech: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Growth.” Innovations in agriculture have allowed worldwide food production to triple over the past 50 years, yet the sector still sees less investment compared to others such as renewable energy. Today’s challenge of increasing food production to prevent a global food crisis while avoiding negative impact on the environment presents an opportunity for technological innovation in the agriculture sector.
Global food security is in the hands of more than just policy makers. Government funding alone will not provide the innovations needed to solve the global food crisis. According to Ortmans, “Entrepreneurial innovation must be driven by entrepreneurs and investors to achieve the critical, multi-pronged goals we face.” Governments can however play a role in enabling the sector’s success by removing unnecessary roadblocks in policies and working in conjunction with the private sector.
Entrepreneurs, investors and the US government are seeking to create an international AgTech community, creating competitions and platforms for innovators to present their agricultural technologies to potential investors. This movement is bringing entrepreneurship “right back to our dinner tables.”
SVG Partners joins forces with Forbes to launch ag-tech accelerator by John Kennedy on Siliconrepublic.com
The Silicon Valley-based venture-capital firm, SVG Partners, recently launched the Thrive Accelerator with Forbes. The program, based in Salinas, California, was created to support innovators in the AgTech sector. Ten startups will be accepted into the accelerator and will have access to support from the top companies in the region as well as access to investment. SVG Venture partner John Stanton agrees that applying technology to agriculture is key to meeting future food demands, commenting, “We are seeking the best, most innovative companies that are transforming agriculture through technology.”
Report: AgTech Could Cut Food Prices Nearly in Half by 2050 by Cori Capik on AgFunderNews
A recent report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) addresses a solution to global, regional and local food security. Because the future of climate change is uncertain, as are the best agriculture practices, the report focuses on increasing productivity in the globe’s largest staple crops-corn, rice and wheat. It suggests that the three areas of investment that will prove most effective are: crop productivity research, resource-conserving practices, and increased irrigation.
According to the report: “The reality is that no single agricultural technology or farming practice will provide sufficient food for the world in 2050.” Each crop reacts differently to farming technology and new practices. With increased research, experts can find the best practices for each crop, and the study suggests that by adopting these suggested practices, prices could be reduced by as much as 49% for corn, 43% for rice and 45% for wheat while better irrigation practices alone could lead to enhanced yields of 67%, 22% and 21% for the respective crops.
Plant biotech startup speeds propagation by Kate Whilhite by WSU News
Washington State University researchers-turned-entrepreneurs developed a method to grow trees three times faster while simultaneously conserving water and reducing the need for pesticides. The new growing method allows founder Amit Dhingra and his partners to produce 250,000 plants from a single plant in just one year (traditional techniques produce about 10 plants in the same amount of time). This means decreased risk and increased return for growers purchasing plants for their farm. That’s not all the new method offers. “For every tree produced with this method we save 80 gallons of clean water,” Dingha commented. The plants also require no pesticides or insecticides.