New Report Calls for Inclusive Agritech Innovations to Improve Food Security

28 Apr 2024

World Economic Forum,

  • Technology has a critical role to play in helping the agriculture sector meet the estimated 70% increase in global food production needed to feed 9.1 billion people by 2050
  • A new World Economic Forum Report provides a macro-level view of the integration of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies needed to deliver systemic change
  • Scaling up inclusive agritech in emerging economies can be achieved only through a multistakeholder approach that includes all actors, including smallholder farmers and women
  • Read the full report here. Watch livestreamed sessions from the Special Meeting here and join the conversation on social media using hashtag #SpecialMeeting24

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 28 April 2024 – A new World Economic Forum report released today highlights the emerging technological solutions and strategies that will shape the global agriculture system and contribute to food security.

Agritech: Shaping Agriculture in Emerging Economies, Today and Tomorrow, published in collaboration with PwC India, gives a macro-level view of the integration of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies needed to deliver systemic change in the agriculture sector. It also calls for governments and the private sector to scale solutions and ensure that technology transformation is inclusive.

“Scaling agritech requires emerging economies to create a common vision for an agritech ecosystem that is shared by all the stakeholders,” said Sebastian Buckup, Head of Network and Partnership, World Economic Forum. “While the ecosystem develops, it is critical for the industry to address gaps in demand and supply side such as unit economics for farmers to adopt tech, or creating trust through a mix of physical and digital channels.

Technologies – such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence for weather prediction, traceability, smart logistics solutions and the internet of things – are promising solutions that can reduce information gaps and better equip farmers to manage the challenges. These emerging technologies are critical to transforming the agriculture sector to grow an additional 70% of food for 9.1 billion people by 2050. However, they have yet to achieve last-mile adoption, especially by smallholders and women farmers, in Asia, Africa and Latin America

Globally, challenges such as the impact of climate change, increased frequency of natural disasters and soil degradation are posing significant threats to food production. Addressing these challenges necessitates that every stakeholder in the agriculture sector becomes more knowledgeable to facilitate informed decision-making

“In the agriculture sector, emerging economies are encountering common hurdles. Agritech has transformative capabilities to empower farmers to better navigate climate shifts and alleviate pressure on precious natural resources like water and soil,” said Sanjeev Krishan, Chairperson of PwC India. “The key lies in fostering public-private partnerships that are not only scalable but also adaptable to the unique context of each country, ensuring widespread success and sustainable impact.

Building on a 2021 World Economic Forum Artificial Intelligence for Agriculture Innovation (AI4AI) Community Paper, the report highlights a four-point strategy that looks to: solve the unit economics of tech adoption for smallholders; acknowledge the critical role of women in farming and focus on gender-inclusive agritech solutions; harness the power of public-private partnerships; and link digital and physical channels

About the Special Meeting 2024
The World Economic Forum Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development convenes key global stakeholders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to enable comprehensive dialogue on global cooperation, sustainable growth and promoting a global energy transition that underpins sustainable development. For further information, click here.

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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