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Understanding Agricultural Technology: The Basics

Poppy Higgins
Poppy Higgins

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Understanding Agricultural Technology: The Basics

Understanding Agricultural Technology: The Basics

Agricultural technology or agrotechnology is the use of technology in agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture with the aim of improving yield, efficiency, and profitability. Agricultural technology can be products, services or applications derived from agriculture that improve various input/output processes.

What is Agricultural Technology?

There are several definitions for agricultural technology. The three basic definitions are:
  1. It is a distinct branch of science which is concerned with the relationship between man and the environment that is dependent on and surrounding agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture;
  2. The practice or use of science and technology for improving production and economic efficiency in agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture, and
  3. The application of science and technology in the agricultural, horticultural, and aquacultural industries.
Which aspects of agricultural technology can I apply in my business? As an entrepreneur, one of the questions to ask when looking at agricultural technology is what are the key areas that you need to apply your technology.

The Importance of Agricultural Technology

Agriculture holds the key to food security, economic prosperity and poverty alleviation globally. As an essential source of sustainable livelihoods, it represents more than 3 billion people’s contribution to global food supply, with 70% of the food consumed in the world produced by rural agriculture. Agriculture is also the fastest growing sector in many countries. The African agriculture sector provides about 11% of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product and employs over half of the population. As it contributes significantly to Africa’s economic development, the continent is playing a key role in feeding the world.

Agrotechnology and The Future

In the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Food Systems, there has been a huge focus on the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) of the Sustainable Food Trust. Agrotechnology is a strong theme with very real, achievable and clear targets and there are several pillars to look out for in the near future. Agriculture has a range of technologies with which it has a productive and mutually beneficial relationship. From practical machinery and methods that improve productivity to health, nutrition and disease prevention. These are the myriad of things that help us meet the challenges of farming.
Agricultural technology is a multi-billion dollar industry with almost limitless potential. The industries that are about to gain the most from agritech are high-value crops (fruits, vegetables, fish), livestock and aquaculture, forestry and trees, the agricultural machinery industry, food processing, food marketing, and food supply/consumption industries. To understand the context for the growth of agritech, it is important to focus on the following drivers: The rate of change in the climate, resulting from the increased levels of greenhouse gases resulting from the burning of fossil fuels and the altering of land-use, is increasing substantially. Fertility levels are also decreasing with increased use of pesticides and herbicides.


As we head towards 4IR (fourth Industrial Revolution), disruptive technology sectors are growing at a rapid rate, providing ample opportunity for innovative entrepreneurs to create scalable startups. Investors are deploying serious capital in these verticals, many venture capitalists are focusing on tech-driven startups. Founders of tech startups are receiving funding, provided they are connecting with the right investors for their startup at the right time.

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