Digitalisation, 3D food printing, vertical farms and insect production will shape the agricultural industry of the future, according to a keynote speaker at the GlobalGAP Summit 2016.
In his futuristic speech to open the conference, held this week (27-28 September)s in Amsterdam, author and ‘trendwatcher’ Adjiedj Bakas told delegates that “technology will renew your industry” and warned them to embrace change with the right attitude.
“Digitalisation will be present at every part of the farm. For example, driverless tractors will monitor disease and yields, while the farmer does other tasks. Farmbots will herd livestock, and harvests will be fully-automated,” he said.
“There is much more we can do with vertical farms - urban farming will become much more important. In the future, sea farms will produce vegetables in abundance by recycling salt water to grow crops.”
To enable this new era of innovation, Bakas said the farming industries should give more room to “outsiders” and “use more craziness”. “Watch people who are doing things differently and learn from them,” he said. “We are living in pre revolutionary times. Be aware of it all, you will do it but you will only do it if you embrace change.”
As technology continues to develop, Bakas said consumer engagement and the role of the media will also see a step change. He said the industry should address the ‘underground media’ much more than the mainstream and traditional outlets. “We need to be more assertive on social media, and answer back to that. We shouldn’t invest so much in the mainstream media,” he added.