Agtech competence: urgent needs and possible pathways – KSLAT nr 3-3023

During the 19th century, it took approximately 4,200 minutes to harvest and thresh one ton of grain thanks to the invention of the knife bar, the steam engine, and the threshers. But today, with the biggest combine harvesters, such as the John Deere X9, the farmer can harvest and thresh one ton in just 2 minutes. It illustrates a fabulous productivity development in agriculture.

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The world faces huge challenges regarding food needs in relation to food supply. According to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), we need 60 percent more food in 2050 than today. The expanding food needs are not only connected with population growth, but as much with changing food habits in Asia and elsewhere. Because agricultural production is vital for food production, many challenges must be handled through developing agricultural tools and methods.

In principle there are three pathways: evolution, imitation, and innovation. Evolution and imitation are much needed. But neither evolutionary changes nor imitation will be enough to cope with all challenges and the contracting goals. We need more revolutionary changes.