Today, there are more than 7 billion people on the planet, a figure that’s expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050.1 By then, the middle class—who typically have more money available for food, leading to greater demand—could reach 5 billion people by 2030.2 If these numbers hold, overall food production will need to double in a relatively short period of time to meet demand to feed the world’s population.
The good news is that new digital technologies now make it possible to collect and leverage huge amounts of critical data at minimal costs—thus making a farm’s field operations more insight driven, and potentially more productive and efficient. The agriculture ecosystem is already starting to invest in these digital technologies. The total market size for digital-based services, known as “precision agriculture,” is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.2 percent between 2014 and 2020 to reach $4.55 billion.4 Greater use of precision agriculture services is vital to not only improving a farm’s financial performance, but also to meet the food needs of an expanding population.
Until recently, the impact of precision agriculture solutions (e.g., variable-rate spraying)— while an improvement over traditional methods—has been limited by the granularity and timeliness of the data they use and their lack of dayto-day operational decision support. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, over 60 percent of U.S. agriculturalinput dealers offer some kind of variable-rate-technology services. However, less than 20 percent of acreage is managed using the technology due to the high cost of gathering precise field data.
It’s clear that precision agriculture still has considerable untapped potential. That’s why Accenture has combined digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) with its big data analytics, visualization capabilities, and industry knowledge to create two major advancements in the market: Accenture Precision Agriculture Service and Accenture Connected Crop Solution.
Geared toward mature, largescale farms, the Accenture Precision Agriculture Service helps farmers gather and crosscorrelate a wide range of critical data to make meaningful and timely operating decisions that can enhance yield and profitability. Designed for developing countries and smallholder farmers, the Accenture Connected Crop Solution can enable agro-input providers to boost field agent productivity and help farmers improve yields by providing fertilizer, pesticide, and seed recommendations personalized for each farmer’s land and needs.