Finding a sustainable solution for feeding an ever-growing global population is one of the key drivers behind the development of any agritech solution. The agriculture and food production industries have a huge challenge ahead over the coming years, and there will be more focus than ever placed on the innovative thinking that can potentially help unlock solutions. This is where the concept of Agriculture 4.0 comes in.
Over the next three editions of Clima, we plan to break down this theme, considering what Agriculture 4.0 really means and discussing some of the key considerations and impacts facing the agriculture and food production industries over the next 5-10 years. As we talk to friends and partners across our network, we will consider three core areas: skills, science, and sustainability.
In this first edition, we look at why precision farming and Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) techniques are becoming more mainstream, and the skills and talent required to make this approach a success. Technology is having a greater impact in agriculture than ever before, and this is only set to increase. It will bring with it a wider and more advanced agricultural ecosystem which requires a skilled, knowledgeable, and committed workforce, with as great an appetite for innovation and capacity to problem solve as any generation before.
We consider the type of skills that will remain relevant and how others will come to the fore for us to embrace the greater adoption of technology. We discuss how training might evolve, qualifications be earned and some of the new skills and experiences that will make their way into this food production ecosystem.
Reflecting this focus on the next generation of agriculture, we welcome Professor Fiona Burnett and Ruth Vichos, who are Head of Connect for Impact and Lecturer in Horticulture at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). With a keen eye on education, they share their thoughts on the extent to which innovation and technological advances are changing the focus of education in agricultural and horticultural subjects. They share insights into the ways in which teaching has evolved as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and look at the changing skills required for the future of agriculture.
For this edition of Clima, we are also delighted to welcome Polly Purvis OBE, former CEO of ScotlandIS, founder of CodeClan, and currently Director of ScotFIN at IGS. She gives us a perspective on the burgeoning Scottish digital and technology sectors, sharing her insights into how the learnings here can be applied to sectors such as agriculture. She also shares her hopes for the future, looking at what will need to change if we are to continue to develop new and more sustainable modes of food production.
We hope you enjoy this – our first anniversary – edition of Clima. Over the last year, we have been privileged to welcome insights through this platform from industry leaders, including both old friends and new. We look forward to continuing this theme through 2021 and welcome your feedback as we move forward.
David Farquhar, CEO, IGS