Is Taiwan about to become agriculture’s Silicon Valley?
Taiwan may be on the brink of becoming the world’s go-to innovator and supplier of precision agriculture solutions. Precision agriculture is a catch all term for the application of powerful modern technologies – such as drones, satellites, the Internet of Things (IoT), vertical farms, artificial intelligence (AI), and solar energy – to the agriculture sector. The integration of this tech into traditional farming has the potential to increase yields, reduce costs, minimize the usage of water, fertilizer, and soil nutrients, and more.
By applying advanced innovations from the technology sector to agriculture, farmers are able to create new solutions that could help feed an expanding global population. For example, fields can be ‘mapped’ with superhuman precision by automated systems that rely on satellite imagery, then planted by robots to a set of exact details, and watered and fed by drone – once more, with superhuman precision. The result is an optimized crop that saves money through a reduction of wastage.
Taiwan is incredibly well positioned to become a key player in this industry, as it contains all the necessary technical knowhow, and is close to Mainland China – a country that has serious interests in precision agriculture.
Although Taiwan is relatively small in size, it has the largest number of electrical engineers per capita in the world. It also produces 25% of the world’s semiconductors, and a large portion of the sensors used in IoT and precision agriculture. It’s the global leader in solar cells, and holds a number of specialist LED and hydroponic companies that could be critical to the growth of indoor farming.
As China sees more and more of its workforce enter urban areas and take on non-agricultural work, it faces very real threats as to how it will feed a vast and aging population. Precision agriculture may be one of the answers. If so, this is an answer that will be pertinent for many of the world’s countries: China’s demographic problems may be extreme, but they are by no means unique.
The opinions in this article do not reflect those of Dominion Fund Management Limited, and in the instance of any forward-looking statements, these should not be construed as advice.
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