Smart Farming

Decarbonization Avenue : Smart Farming


Agriculture is a large source of greenhouse gas emissions - and it is not just CO2 emissions, but also methane and N2O emissions. With the world’s population on the increase and the subsequent need for more food and clothing, the importance and extent of agriculture - and its greenhouse emissions - will increase even further.

Smart farming - also called precision farming or precision agriculture - use scientific methodologies combined with digital tools for farming. The goal of smart farming is to  ensure that agriculture is able to produce the same, or even better, yields with fewer inputs and with less harm to the overall ecosystem. All these imply much less greenhouse gas emissions compared to the business-as-usual scenario.

While there is a cost attached to smart farming (mainly in the form of investment in the smart farming technology & equipment), it could pay for itself fairly quickly given the extent to which smart and precision farming practice can reduce input costs (15-20%) and increase crop yields (by over 30%, and in some cases by over 50%).

Smart farming and precision agriculture are not exactly new. Farmers in many countries have been using scientific observations and estimates for their cultivation processes. What has changed is the use of new technologies such as drones, IoT & sensors, and also concepts such as AI and Big Data. All of these enable farmers to understand their farming ecosystem at a granular level, dynamically, resulting in much higher efficiencies.

The 2020-2030 period will be a period of significant growth for the smart farming sector worldwide. Esmart farming innovations around extensive use of digital through IoT, AI & Big Data, focus on soil health & field diagnostics, and genomics.

Industries impacted

  • Agriculture & farming
  • Internet & online solutions
  • Computers & software
  • Fertilizers
  • Food & beverages
  • Life sciences
  • Livestock
  • Logistics
  • Marketing & communications
  • Packaging & plastics
  • Paper & forest products
  • Textile & apparel
  • Water

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Themes & Topics

  • Precision practices for:

    • Fertilizer application

    • Tilling practices

    • Water management

    • Protection against pests and weeds

    • Harvesting

  • IT & digital tools

    • IoT

    • Robotics

    • Cloud

    • Drones

    • GPS, GIS & remote sensing

  • Enhancing affordability of precision farming for small farmers

    • Business & financing models to reduce cost of precision farming

    • Government policies and incentives for growth of precision farming

  • Combining precision farming with other sustainable agricultural practices:

    • Regenerative agriculture

    • Organic farming

    • Agroforestry

  • Capacity building for farmers for precision farming

  • Policy support

  • Financing support

  • Collaboration

    • Between farmers

    • Between solution providers & farmers

  • Hybrid of smart and conventional farming

  • Smart farming in:

    • Developed countries

    • Developing countries

    • Under-developed countries