With the increased population in the world, global demand for food is increasing day by day. FAO has estimated that the world population will reach 8 billion by 2025 and 9.6 billion by 2050. To meet the need for food to arise due to such population increase, agricultural production should increase by 70% by 2050. This projection requires the current condition and growth trends of the agricultural sector to be reviewed all over the world. Agricultural sector faces high costs, climate change, negative trend in efficiency increase, reduction in agricultural land and difficulties in opportunities of having access to clean water for irrigation, increased need for energy, reduction in agricultural work force, etc.
In 2011 and afterwards, it was first announced in Germany that an industrial cycle called the Fourth Industrial Revolution would be entered, in which information technologies and industry would come together, in which production would be organised with integrated systems and in which artificial intelligence would stand out. Integration of the agricultural sector into this process called Industry 4.0 bears great importance.
Applications of this process described as the internet of things in the agricultural sector are basically achieved by the fact that agricultural machines and fields are equipped with sensors and that they are in communication with one another and it is targeted to enhance efficiency and quality by the use of modern technologies.
By smart systems, all factors that are important for the sustainability of the agricultural production are quickly and simultaneously presented to the knowledge of growers, thus ensuring more effective use of resources.
As we have stressed before, in the present day, the agricultural sector is in so great a transformation with the effect of the developing technology and it is thought that the future of the agricultural sector will be shaped by technological applications. This process called Agriculture 4.0 may be described as the increase in efficiency and effectiveness in agricultural production by the use of communication technologies in the agricultural sector in the most general expression. Besides, Agriculture 4.0 transformation further points out an environment-friendly and sustainable agricultural production.
Agriculture 4.0 applications first create opportunities to have access to safe and healthy food, speed up the decision-making processes and ensure more effective use of resources. Further, production costs may be significantly reduced by such technology-based applications.
In this context, together with Agriculture 4.0 transformation, it became extremely important to install and spread such smart systems as computer-aided control systems various software and hardware equipment, agricultural machines equipped with digital sensors and image processing technologies.
The most important stage in the integration of technology into the agricultural sector is to equip the agricultural machines and agricultural fields with sensors and to ensure such machines to be in communication with one another. In this way, images received from satellites can be processed and combined with the data received from sensors. All agricultural land can be observed by cloud-linked unmanned aerial vehicles and data so obtained can be instantaneously followed by smart equipment. By computer-based farm management systems, all production processes of agricultural production can be traced from the arrival of the resources at the farm to the departure of the product (from field to table). Briefly, the application of smart systems in agriculture ensures all information required for the yield and quality of animal and vegetative production to be obtained easily.
Agricultural sector now needs a new ecosystem description within all this transformation we talk about. In order to enhance the production potential of Turkey, which is an agricultural country, the integration of the Turkish agricultural sector into Agriculture 4.0 applications is quite important for the future of the agricultural sector and for its gaining international competitive power.
Form this point of view, the Izmir Commodity Exchange and the Aegean University have established a significant cooperation protocol.
Objective of the project “Global Integration of the Turkish Agriculture and Agriculture 4.0” is to develop policy proposals for the identification, application and dissemination of the ecosystem components required for Turkey integration into the Agriculture 4.0 process.
An intermediate workshop entitled “Technological Transformation in Agriculture: Identification of Current Situation, Problems and Proposals for Solution” was held to discuss the views of the agricultural sector representatives about Agriculture 4.0 on 29th November 2017.
Information obtained in the intermediate workshop has revealed the overall development potential of the sector, obstacles before it, problems and solutions thereof. Afterwards, a questionnaire study was carried out at 500 farmers and 10 technology companies in the towns designated in the Izmir region in order to cast light on future studies to be carried out on the technological development of the sector.
We have identified the existing problems and tried to develop proposals for a successful integration into this process by the “Project Final Report” drawn up under the project “Global Integration of the Turkish Agriculture and Agriculture 4.0”. We believe that our project will contribute to the development of policy proposals for Turkey’s integration into the Agriculture 4.0 process and the application and dissemination thereof.
Please CLICK to see our “Project Final Report”.