solving the biggest problem the world has ever faced
“Imagine all the food mankind has produced over the past 8,000 years. Now consider that we need to produce that same amount again — but in just the next 40 years."
- Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary-General
in a nutshell
We need to produce more food and resources than we have ever done in mankind's history on this planet, and we need to do it fast. The catch: our resources are finite; but human demand for them is not.
Attempts to produce more to meet this demand exacerbate climate change and often result in degradation of land and pollution. In the long term, such attempts to drive production often prove counter-productive as crop production declines with land quality and fluctuating temperatures.
It's been said that we would need 4 Earths if every human being consumed as much as the average U.S. citizen. As emerging economies develop and a greater proportion of the global population begins increasing their consumption, this hypothetical scenario increasingly becomes a frightening reality. But there is no Planet B.
One approach to the problem is to foster public consciousness of the issue to mitigate demand; but even so, the world population reached 7.6 billion as of mid-2017 and is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. There is a physical limit to what the world can produce: how do we ensure every individual's moral right to food and basic resources are met in a sustainable way?
the future is sustainable intensification
Simply put, it's an approach to agricultural production that aims to increase yield from existing land without adverse environmental impact and without the cultivation of more land.
Critics of sustainable intensification argue that it refers to particular systems of production. However, it does not. The goal of sustainable intensification is to achieve a union between sustainability on the one hand, and productivity on the other, so it is unlikely to resemble anything that we have today.
"Sustainable development is not an option! It is the only path that allows all of humanity to share a decent life on this, one planet."
- Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of the Rio+20 Conference
As we turn away from being exploiters of the land to stewards of it for future generations, this approach proves absolutely crucial in a world where demand for food from a growing global population continues to skyrocket and land, water and other agricultural inputs become increasingly scarce.
AN everGREEN REVOLUTION
The period from the 1930s to the late 1960s is often referred to as The Green Revolution. It was time of great agricultural innovation and technology transfer, especially to the developing world. The best-known figure of the Revolution is Norman Borlaug, who to this day is credited with saving one billion people from starvation through his work on developing high-yielding varieties of cereal grains and new, effective agronomic techniques.
Some argue that The Green Revolution lives on today in the form of big data and precision agriculture techniques. Using input from sensors, drone and satellite imagery, rapidly advancing technology is enabling agricultural producers to increase yields on existing land while reducing or even eliminating negative impact on the environment.
Unfortunately, these solutions are often expensive and inaccessible to smallholder producers. Analysis of the data at large volumes can prove costly. In order for The Evergreen Revolution to truly impact the Agriculture sector positively, such solutions need to be cost-effective solution and accessible.
"The key lies in empowering the millions of smallholder producers and landless workers who form the backbone of rural economies in most developing countries to grow their incomes and improve their livelihoods by raising agricultural productivity and engaging in markets."
- James Dargie, Former Director, Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture
FROM SEEDS TO SATELLITES
Adatos has chosen to play its part in securing global food and resource security by applying A.I. to the rapid and accurate analysis of geospatial data. The result is a beautiful, effective and inexpensive tool that enables agricultural producers both small and large to gain a deeper understanding of their farms and plantations and better monitor operational efficiency.
How does this contribute to sustainable instensification? Better operational management of land means better management of our limited inputs such as water and fertilizer. Adatos' tool monitors these inputs for under- and over-application to maximize their effectivess and minimize harmful run-off.
Our tool discourages the cultivation of more land by increasing yield per hectare on existing land. This is achieved by monitoring plant health, pest and disease and other critical components. 33 per cent of the world's land resources have already been deemed to be degraded; immediate action is imperative.