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.

Decarbonization potential

The agriculture sector is responsible for about 9 billion tons of CO2 equivalent emissions per annum. Of these, 6.5 billion tons of emissions occur annually from farming, livestock activities as well as land use change activities. In addition, agriculture is also responsible for about 2.2 billion tons CO2eq of N2O emissions annually, mainly owing to the release of N2O from fertilizer use.

If smart farming can increase yields for the same amount of land use (and thus lower CO2 emissions) and also lower amounts of fertilizers used (and hence lower N2O emissions) on scale, its potential for decarbonization for the 2020-2030 period is immense.

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

Latest News on Smart Farming

Themes & Topics

  • Precision practices for:

    • Fertilizer application

    • Tilling practices

    • Water management

    • Protection against pests and weeds

    • Harvesting

  • IT & digital tools

    • IoT & sensors

    • Robotics

    • Cloud

    • Drones

    • Smartphone apps

    • Imaging

    • Machine learning

    • Satellite imagery

    • Remote soil sensing








  • Combining precision farming with other sustainable agricultural practices:

    • Regenerative agriculture

    • Organic farming

    • Agroforestry

  • Capacity building for farmers for precision farming

  • Collaboration

    • Between farmers

    • Between solution providers & farmers

  • Hybrid of smart and conventional farming

  • Smart farming trends in:

    • Developed countries

    • Developing countries

    • Under-developed countries

  • 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