Agrifoods is more than just farming; it’s a sector that provides jobs for millions of people worldwide. With so many people relying on the food produced, it’s important to solve the problems the industry faces.
So what are some of the biggest issues facing Agrifoods today?
The global food network aims to keep a growing population fed. By 2050, it’s estimated there’ll be just under 10 billion people who need feeding. Population increase will coincide with a growing diversification of demand. Basically, as less-developed countries emerge and grow, their consumers will want access to a wider range of food products.
Farmers worldwide will need to increase their production by dedicating more land to growing crops or, more realistically, by enhancing productivity on their existing land. Farmers will need to grow more in the same space. They can do this by adopting new methods and technology that will increase overall output.
The Agrifood industry was disrupted like never before by the global pandemic. In countries around the world, we saw national lockdowns and stockpiling by panicking consumers. Businesses had to close and there were serious worries about how supply chains would cope.
Like many other industries, the Agrifoods sector had to adapt. From new partnerships to the redistribution of food to help those in need, the industry came together to solve global problems.
The pandemic has highlighted the need for the Agrifood sector to be more resilient in the future. Although no one knows how the world will look post-COVID, it’s clear supply chains need to be better prepared for large-scale disruption of that kind.
Climate change presents a serious risk to the global agriculture industry. Farmers must contend with increasingly volatile weather events, like droughts and floods, and some areas of the planet are suffering from changing average temperatures.
Farmers are working to satisfy manufacturers and consumers who are more environmentally aware than ever. The average consumer now understands where their food has come from, the energy it’s taken and how much food is eventually wasted.
Growing crops takes up 70% of total water use and agriculture is thought to contribute to around 11% of total greenhouse gas emissions. With this in mind, the industry is looking to save energy and resources where possible.
As agriculture is a truly global industry, it can be difficult to align all farmers, buyers and manufacturers. Improved communication will make things a lot easier. A process or tool that’s working for someone in India, for example, should be shared with farmers everywhere else.
Adopting new technologies or ways of working can often take time, even if there are clear benefits to making a change. Some producers have been working in a particular way for generations. They need to be convinced a newer alternative is right for them.
The Agrifood industry today isn’t fair. The largest organizations have too much power, allowing them to exploit the smallest producers. These producers feel as though they have no choice but to agree to deals that don’t reflect the true value of the food they grow.
The more the supply chain has globalized, the faster it’s accelerated these inequalities. Movements like Fair Trade are working to balance out the system but there’s more work to ensure everyone gets the fairest deal.
Supply Chain Delays
Buying and selling commodities is time-consuming. It can take weeks to build up the trust needed to trade with confidence. This usually involves endless email chains, long phone calls and costly site visits.
All of this takes up a lot of time and there’s no guarantee it’ll actually lead to an agreement. Not to mention these site visits have been made impossible by the coronavirus pandemic.
By modernizing the trading process, everyone involved can complete more deals and at a much faster rate. To improve efficiency and speed, it’s important for the producers and buyers involved to use the best possible tools.
This leads us nicely to Agritech.