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Organic Tech Farming: Everything You Need To Know

by Sunday Precious
Everything you need to know about organic tech farming

Organic agriculture is a farming practice that eliminates or significantly limits the use of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, and growth regulators. It is founded on four key principles: health, care, ecology, and fairness. A common misconception about organic farming is that it rejects the use of any form of technology. However, this is not true. 

With technology changing nearly every aspect of our lives – from how we shop and communicate, to how food is grown and consumed – organic farming is not left out. This has led to the inception of the term “organic tech farming.” 

While organic farming is based on sustainable practices that safeguard against harmful chemicals, the introduction of digital technology tools in agriculture that are both sustainable and beneficial has changed the game.

As concerns over health, conservation, climate change, and sustainability continue to increase, it’s important to explore what effect this technological advancement has on organic farming methods today. In this blog post, we’ll look at organic tech farming innovations and how they reshape organic agriculture for better or worse.

What is Organic Tech Farming

The merger between organic farming and technology. Organic tech farming
Source: Importance of Technology

Organic Tech farming combines traditional farming practices with advanced scientific innovations and current digital automation. 

Organic tech farming is a wholly natural and sustainable farm management technique founded on distinct principles. It seeks to establish a socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable food production system through the use of eco-friendly technologies. 

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Based on these principles, organic farmers ensure that all of their agricultural operations are healthy for humans while also being environmentally and economically sustainable. For example, instead of synthetic fertilisers, organic farmers use manuring and organic soil disinfestation and work hard to produce healthy, nutritious crops. They also have the additional responsibility of preserving or improving the most essential natural resources while practising sustainable agriculture for future generations.

More specifically, organic tech farming is centred on maintaining the agroecosystem rather than relying on external farming inputs like pesticides, artificial fertilisers, additives, and genetically engineered organisms.

The Increasing Demand For Organic Farming

Why is organic agriculture increasing? Discover why.
Source: Evan Gates

Organic farming is getting more and more popular as a farm practice. Although conventional farmers continue to own a majority of agricultural areas, there is a growing demand for organic agriculture and organic produce. Currently, there are 4.5 million certified organic producers throughout 172 nations. More crucially, the agricultural land under organic farming is steadily rising. Still, organic farms account for barely 25% of all agricultural land. This is because many organic farmers typically cultivate their crops on smaller surfaces than conventional farmers.

However, according to recent research, the worldwide organic food and beverage sector might be worth USD 849.7 billion by 2028. This is a huge potential for farmers, processors, and distributors to harness.  

The increasing demand for organic farming is due to the various benefits it offers to both humans and the environment. For example, unlike conventional agricultural practices, organic farming sequesters carbon using crop rotations, crop residues, animal manure, legumes, green manure, and off-farm organic waste. It also reduces carbon emissions by avoiding the use of fossil fuels used in the manufacture of the chemicals used to make synthetic materials. 

Furthermore, organic agriculture consumes 28% to 32% less energy than conventional systems. Input costs for seed, fertiliser, pesticides, machinery, and hired manpower are around 20% lower in a rotation containing a legume than in a typical rotation system. 

Organic farming could also potentially significantly cut the agriculture sector’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it nearly GHG-neutral. Greenhouse gas emissions from the use of synthetic fertilisers are expected to be 1,000 million tonnes per year. These emissions would not exist under an organic method. GHG emissions from agriculture would be decreased by around 20%. 

To satisfy global food demands and offset the aforementioned challenges, several governments and farmers have moved to organic farming.

The Union of Technology And Organic Farming (Organic Tech Farming)

The union of organic farming with technology
Source: KamariClarke

While Organic farming has numerous benefits, being an organic farmer is not an easy job. Luckily the introduction of digital agricultural tools has made things easier. 

From computers to cell phones, technology has transformed our daily lives. It has altered communication, employment, and even agriculture. Farmers can now use drones, sensors, and other high-tech instruments to monitor crops, diagnose issues, and forecast the weather. This leads to higher yields and less waste. 

However, one of the most difficult tasks in merging organic farming practices and technology is preserving the integrity of organic principles while not getting carried away by the efficiency and convenience provided by high-tech solutions. Nevertheless, I believe that when used wisely, technology can benefit rather than harm organic farming practices.

For example, the development of digital Farm Management Software tools like AGRIVI enables complete production traceability and transparency, allowing organic farmers to showcase their products to customers and agribusiness companies with which they collaborate. 

Benefits of Organic Tech Farming

Benefits of organic tech farming. A hand showing organic farming
Source: Farming Farmers Farm

The combination of organic farming with technology has numerous benefits including: 

1. Environmental Benefits

  • Reduced Carbon Footprint: Organic tech farming helps minimize energy consumption while maximizing production. This is achieved through automation, which reduces the need for fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources, thus contributing to a lower carbon footprint.
  • Efficient Use of Land: By using modern agricultural technology, farmers can produce more food per square meter, reducing the pressure on the environment. This is accomplished by optimizing crop yields with fewer resources, such as land, water, and fertilizer.
  • Improved Crop Yields: Organic tech farming enables farmers to improve crop yields using fewer resources. This is achieved through the use of advanced technologies like drones, sensors, and high-tech tools to monitor crops, identify problems, and anticipate the weather, leading to higher yields and reduced waste.

2. Economic Benefits

  • Higher Earnings: With the same quantity of inputs, farmers can increase yields and hence profits, or they can use fewer inputs to attain the same output. 
  • Reduced Cost of Production: Technology in organic farming can lessen the amount of fuel, water, fertiliser, and pesticide that is applied to crops. Farmers now have substantially lower production costs as a result of this.
  • Better Crop Monitoring: AI systems can examine information from satellite images, drone footage, and field sensors to identify early indicators of pests, disease, and nutrient shortages. This enables farmers to use organic techniques, such as introducing beneficial insects or utilising organic sprays, to minimise damage and waste early on.

3. Social Benefits

  • Safe Produce: Compared to conventionally cultivated produce, organic fresh produce is thought to be fresher and healthier. Furthermore, by using organic farming methods, we can protect biodiversity and prevent toxins from entering our food chain. 
  • Data-Driven Decisions: AI can recommend the best times to plant, rotate crops, and allocate resources by examining previous agricultural data, weather patterns, and market trends. This supports farmers in making well-informed decisions that uphold organic standards while increasing yields and resource efficiency.

Technologies Used in Organic Tech Farming

Some popular technologies utilized in organic tech farming include: 

  • Precision Agriculture: Precision agriculture technologies such as GPS mapping, soil sensors, and drones are transforming organic farming. These instruments enable farmers to precisely monitor crop health, soil conditions, and insect activity, allowing for focused treatments that reduce environmental effects and resource use. 
  • Biological Pest Management: Advances in biological pest management provide organic farmers with viable alternatives to chemical pesticides. The employment of beneficial insects like ladybirds and parasitic wasps, as well as microbial treatments, aids in the natural management of pest populations, preserving ecological balance and crop health. 
  • Automated Weeding: Robotics and AI-powered machinery are becoming more common in organic agriculture. Automated weeders employ computer vision to discriminate between crops and weeds, allowing accurate removal of undesired plants without the need for herbicides, thereby protecting soil and reducing labour costs. 
  • Drone Power for Organic Produce: Drones are no longer only for enthusiasts. They use sophisticated cameras and sensors to map fields, spot pest infestations, and even administer organic pesticides with pinpoint accuracy. This minimises waste and reduces the need for manual labour. 
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Systems: IPM incorporates various pest-management tactics, such as crop rotation, polycultures, and habitat diversity. Technological techniques like pheromone traps and predictive modelling help farmers apply IPM successfully, decreasing their reliance on a single pest management strategy.

Challenges of Organic Tech Farming

While organic tech farming has so many advantages, the adoption of organic tech farming by local farmers is limited due to: 

  • High upfront acquisition costs: Farmers with limited finances or access to capital may find it prohibitively expensive to acquire the latest technologies. 
  • Farm data sharing and ownership concerns: Concerns about farm data sharing and ownership can impede the widespread adoption of technology in organic agriculture. 
  • Lack of infrastructure: The absence of infrastructure that farmers need to adequately utilize organic tech tools like power, high-speed internet connection e.t.c is lacking in many rural areas where most farms are situated.

The Future of Organic Tech Farming

The convergence of technology and organic farming is leading to more sustainable and effective agricultural techniques. With the cooperation of industry associations and adherence to recognised organic standards, these developments are assisting farmers in meeting the growing demand for organic products while also protecting the environment. 

As technology advances, it promises to improve the viability and success of organic farming, so contributing to a healthier environment and food system. Organic agriculture not only preserves biodiversity, protects soil health, and mitigates climate change, but it also provides food security and resilience for the future.

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