Connected agriculture refers to agriculture practices that incorporate IoT-based advanced technologies and solutions pertaining to the agriculture sector to increase the productivity of farms. The connected agriculture market is experiencing massive growth in recent years due to the persistent demand for improved income margins in the agriculture sector, which can be achieved with the introduction of connected devices.
Government initiatives focusing on increasing the penetration of connected devices in the agriculture sector are also fueling the growth of the market. It is estimated that the demand for food will grow up to 70% by 2050; hence, there is a greater need to innovate and improve agriculture production practices. Connected agriculture offers solutions ranging from automated pumps and water quality monitoring to crop health management and even predictive yield monitoring.
The global connected agriculture market was USD 17.9 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.3%.
As the effects of climate change grow severe, agriculture is one of the industries that suffer the most. According to the study by Nokia, agricultural production will decrease by 18% till 2050 due to climate change. Mato Grosso, a state in Brazil, is predicted to witness an 18% to 23% decline in the production of soy and corn by 2050. Similarly, the U.S. and Eastern Australia are likely to experience a decline in agriculture production due to extreme heat. Such severe weather conditions are encouraging the deployment of IoT-based solutions in agriculture to increase yield and improve efficiency.
Private-public partnerships such as those between governments, agriculture development authorities, and state-owned enterprises and agro-processing organizations, financial institutions, and food and beverage manufacturers will stimulate the growth of sustainable agriculture. Such public-private partnerships are strengthening the agriculture sector with more advanced technologies and improved management processes, creating new revenue streams.
Several connected technologies such as low power wide area (LPWA), Zigbee, WiFi, and wireless sensor technologies enable farmers to efficiently plan and implement various agricultural operations, such as purchasing, inventory control, planting, and harvesting. The Internet of things is anticipated to play a key role in the connected agriculture market in enhancing agricultural productivity and meeting the growing food demand.
Pre-production planning involves activities concerning planning and decision making, crop and land selection, land preparation and sowing, inputs access, weather/water/soil management, etc. Connected agriculture solutions monitor such activities by analyzing and correlating information about the field, crop, types of seeds, types of soil or infestations, and weather. In-production planning management primarily includes daily activities such as water and irrigation management, production monitoring and maintenance, and animal tracking and navigation. Delay or mismanagement in daily activities can result in significant losses; therefore, the adoption of in production planning systems is likely to rise during the forecast period, 2020–2029.
Connected agriculture services help in increasing the yield rate of crop production. Several companies are providing connected agriculture services to enhance productivity in agriculture. For instance, Accenture provides the Precision Agriculture Service to help farmers increase productivity and profitability by integrating digital technologies such as the Internet of Things with big data analytics and visualization capabilities.
Robust infrastructure, strong government support to increase the production of agriculture, and increased acceptance of precision farming technologies are altogether boosting the growth of the connected agriculture market in North America. Concurrently, significant scope exists for connected agriculture vendors to enter Mexico’s agriculture sector. According to the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture (SAGARPA), “Knowledge, research, and technological development have not been fully translated into innovations to increase productivity in the food industry because they are not linked effectively with the demands and needs of the farmers.”
Asia-Pacific is still in the early stage of the adoption of precision agriculture technologies compared to the Americas or Europe. The region has a vast untapped market where connected agriculture remains behind the curtains. Asian countries such as India and China have incorporated these technologies and are reaping the benefits. Asia is expected to increase its agriculture output by 20% in the next decade, ultimately providing potential opportunities for the regional connected agriculture market.
Agriculture is one of the main pillars of the European Union. Agriculture production in Europe is highly technologically advanced. The digital revolution is disrupting Europe’s agriculture sector, enabling farmers to be more precise, efficient, and improve productivity and sustainability while remaining competitive.
The demand for food in Africa has been on the rise. The region’s food industry is projected to hit the USD 1-trillion mark by 2030. The target seems far-off with the existing technologies in Africa. Connected agriculture presents the ideal solution to meet food demand in such a scenario. African farmers will need to rely on new tools and technologies to improve yields and get their goods to the market.
Most of the economies of the Middle East are entirely dependent on oil exports, making them prone to price fluctuations. The rural poverty persists in the region with 70% of the Middle East’s poor population living in rural areas. To tackle these challenges, several countries are focusing on digitalizing the agriculture sector to improve the economic growth of the country.
Latin America is one of the greatest exporters of foods and commodities, including coffee from Brazil and Colombia, beef from Argentina, or bananas from Ecuador. The region accounts for more than 16% of global food and commodities export. Besides, the region is one of the few parts of the world with significant land resources in countries such as Brazil and Argentina, which indicates the region’s growth prospects in the connected agriculture market during the forecast period, 2020–2029.
Some of the notable players in the connected agriculture market are IBM Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, AT&T, Deere & Company, Oracle Corporation, Iteris, Trimble, Ag, SAP SE, Accenture, Cisco Systems Inc., Decisive Farming, Gamaya, and SatSure.
Connected agriculture is a highly concentrated marketplace with the presence of established players. Market players are focusing on strategies such as merger and acquisition, new product development, and joint ventures to remain competitive. IBM acquired The Weather Company in the year 2016 to facilitate the improved judgment of weather conditions for farmers.
IBM’s global expansion of Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture integrates AI technology customized for new crops and specific regions to help feed a growing population. The platform is now available in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Brazil, as well as new markets across Europe, Africa, and Australia.