Key Challenges Faced by Farmers in Crop Harvesting
Agricultural efficiency across the globe has been significantly increasing since the 20th century with the advancement in farming techniques. Farmers globally have been adopting innovative farming practices to minimize the time and cost of traditional farming practices. The key developed countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Japan, Germany, and France, are adopting mechanized and precision farming practices in the agricultural sector.
The improving quality of standard of living due to high-income levels and the demand for fresh farm produce and animal protein is bolstering the demand for crop production, particularly in developing countries.
The finite presence of natural resources, such as arable land and freshwater, along with decreasing farm fields, have encouraged growers and agricultural companies to introduce innovative and advanced agriculture equipment to boost farm profitability.
Consumer Needs and Expectations Drive the Food Value Chain
Direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses are able to gain more control over the entire shopping experience by forging direct relationships with consumers. Whether it is online ordering, product packaging, product delivery, or the reverse logistics process of return and exchange handling, the food supply chain has expanded in all terms.
There has been a shift in the focus from concerns over the quantity of food to the quality of food. Farmers are required to meet the rising demand for food of higher quality.
In recent years, consumers have had rising expectations from the farmers to ensure a reduced impact of chemicals and pesticides on the environment, an increase in the nutritional content of crops, and to further minimize chemical residues in crops and the environment.
This high demand for a quality-based food value chain has led farmers to use technology-based harvesting equipment which meets both quality and quantity standards.
According to a recent report by BIS Research, the harvesting equipment market is expected to grow from $22.42 billion in the year 2021 to $30.11 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 5.08% from 2022 to 2027. The growth in the global harvesting equipment market is expected to be driven by the increasing demand for harvesting equipment in precision farming and the growing need to limit the wastage of grains and cereals.
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Challenges in the Modern Agriculture
While modern agriculture provides a large number of solutions for crop harvesting, the outcomes may not always be the same. As each farm is unique, it holds different challenges for farmers to make their crop yielding effective enough to manage the stability of capital investment and profit margin. With the alteration in landscapes, soils, available technology, and potential yields, multiple complications arise in each farm along with the crops.
Like many other sectors, the agricultural industry also faces decades-long problems and unexpected challenges that are important to address. Let’s discuss some of the major issues faced by farmers and the best possible solutions for them.
Over-dependence on traditional crops: Farmers in many countries have been using traditional crop harvesting techniques for several years. Moreover, many times, the excessive production of these grains leads to challenges in storage, sale, and shortage of other farm products. If many farmers depend only upon traditional crops, then it indicates the lack of an effective and nationwide agriculture plan.
Poor storage facilities: The farmers and laborers in the rural areas of most developing countries earn their wages on a daily basis. Storage facilities in these rural areas are either insufficient or completely absent. In such a situation, farmers usually have no other option than to sell their produce immediately once it is ready, at market prices that are often very low. Thus, the farmers hardly make sufficient income to sustain themselves.
High-interest rates: Farmer suicide in economically weak countries is not something that is unheard of; thousands of farmers take their lives each year due to debt burden. Alongside, small and marginal farmers have to go through cumbersome procedures that they are unaware of to get institutional credit because a low-literacy level always makes the credit process complicated for them.
Climatic effect on harvesting: For any particular crop, the effect of climate depends on the crop’s optimal temperature for reproduction and growth. In some areas, warming may benefit the types of crops that are typically planted there or allow farmers to produce crops that are currently grown in warmer areas. On the other hand, if the higher temperature exceeds a crop’s optimum temperature, yields may decline. Thus, global change in the climate condition is definitely a point of concern.
Lesser use of farming equipment: Primitive cultivation methods, i.e., traditionally-used low and relevant native accessories, continue to be farmers’ preferences. There is very little use of modern farming equipment, majorly because most farmers do not have lands large enough to use advanced instruments or heavy machinery despite no shortage of efficient equipment and machinery.
Agricultural technology is raising crop productivity. This technology includes treated seeds, crop protection products, data-analysis apps, and precision spraying. While large-scale farmers may be able to invest in advanced agricultural technology, smallholders do not always have access to an affordable source of credit to invest in such technology.
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