SA - Western Cape: Securing a sustainable future for agriculture

According to Angus Bowmaker-Falconer, research associate at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), development of commercially viable smallholder farmers is a key element in securing a sustainable future for agriculture in the Western Cape. He provided a summary and main findings of the recently released Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Evaluation Report at an event in Stellenbosch last week.

Bowmaker-Falconer said an “Agri Renaissance” of higher yields, reduced costs and improved nutritional value of foods was possible for the Western Cape’s R50 billion agricultural economy if the farming sector, government and education institutions worked together to harvest the benefits of the smart technologies emerging in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

One of these benefits is the potential for smart water technology and intelligent irrigation systems to dramatically reduce agricultural water use in the drought-stricken province, while maintaining and improving production levels.

Bowmaker-Falconer said the “new normal” for agriculture was a future in which agricultural technology (AgTech) enabled more efficient and sustainable farming, providing food security in an inclusive and equitable economy. described Bowmaker-Falconer’s view being that the scope of the 4IR will go beyond smart and connected machines. “We are pivoting towards a fusion of the physical and the virtual world. Interoperability, advanced artificial intelligence and autonomy are becoming integral parts of a new industrial era.”

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