COVID-19 IMPACT SURVEY MAY 2020
The global market for Agriculture Drones is projected to reach US$5.7 billion by 2025, driven by the growing use of technology to enhance agricultural productivity. Several factors are responsible for the growing focus shed on crop productivity and yields. Global population growth, for instance, is exerting pressure on resources especially food. Already millions of people worldwide are experiencing the effects of food insecurity such as physical and economic access to adequate and healthy food; increase in malnutrition; inability to afford nutritious food; dietary inadequacy and inability to lead productive and healthy life. Rise in global food and oil prices are additionally making food availability unequal among the layers of the society and communities. Availability of arable land has also been declining over the decades causing stress on food production. Factors for diminishing percentage of arable land include rapid urbanization and increased soil degradation and pollution. Rapid urbanization, urban sprawl, and industrialization, over the last decades, have played a key role in displacing agricultural lands. All of these factors catalyzed the concerns surrounding food security. In addition to population growth, climate change is also aggravating food security issues. Climate change is exerting a negative effect on food availability, food accessibility, food utilization, food storage, and food systems stability. Extreme often abnormal weather conditions such as high temperatures, drought, floods, low temperatures, and snow tend to destroy crops, reducing yield per unit of land.
As a result, governments worldwide are prioritizing food security goals, making global governance on food security an important step forward in taking collective global action. The focus shed on food security thereby throws the spotlight on agriculture yields per acre and the role of inappropriate agricultural technologies and farming practices responsible for the falling yields. Mechanization of agriculture is therefore the key to food security in developing and developed countries alike. Achieving sustainable food security supported by self-sustaining agricultural mechanization strategy is merging as the cornerstone for the growth of automation in agriculture. Benefits of mechanized agriculture practices include increase in crop yields per acre; increase in agricultural production; productivity enhancements; increased efficiency of farming; lower costs; improved farm profitability; enables more land reclamation; prevents soil erosion; enables the shift from 'subsistence farming' to 'commercial agriculture; addresses the problem of labor shortages; and better use of land. All these benefits help in increased crop production thereby increasing food supply, the key to meeting food security goals. Poised to Gain under this scenario is autonomous farm equipment, which is defined as an advanced form of agricultural mechanization involving intelligent automation either partial or complete. Agricultural drones are unmanned aerial vehicles designed for monitoring crop growth and boosting production. Equipped with digital imaging capabilities and advanced sensors, these drones provide farmers with a detailed picture of their farms to help them improve farm efficiency and crop yields. The bird's-eye view of the field offered by agricultural drones allows farmers to identify various issues like fungal/pest infestations, irrigation problems and soil variation. Multispectral images offered by agricultural drones reveal a near-infrared view and a visual spectrum view, enabling farmers to identify differences between unhealthy and healthy plants, which are difficult with the naked eye. These views help farmers in evaluating crop growth as well as crop production. Agricultural drones can be used by farmers for periodical survey of crops, providing hourly, daily or weekly images revealing changes in crops and trouble spots for better crop management.