7 priority areas for innovators in Ukrainian agricultural sector
Today any management process is going digital. This is an extremely important area for the agricultural sector as well.
The text is written in co-authorship with Kirill Krivolapov, the partner of the company in the field of management consulting CIVITTA
The accelerator for the developers of technological solutions in the agricultural field, namely MHP Accelerator was introduced in Ukraine.
Prior to the introduction, studies were conducted and topics were highlighted pertinent to the innovations that are in keenly sought after by business. That’s how the “Magnificent Seven” of priority directions came about.
So, what is relevant now?
Solutions that enhance the crop yields and the efficiency of livestock breeding.
The yield itself can be increased, in particular, through the genetics studies and through the microbiological researches in the field of soil studies, innovations in the area of plant protection, by mitigating the influence of harmful agents, by reducing the impact of pesticides on plants and soil, through the production of organic and mineral fertilizers. This includes the creation of new products based on agricultural raw materials, including biogas complexes.
The priority for animal husbandry is the creation of new feed mixes, control and diagnosis of diseases, the production of vitamins, and the reduction of the human component in the production process.
Today any management process is being converted into a digital format. It is an extremely important direction for the agricultural sector, if only because the agricultural lands occupy vast areas and it is hard to manage them physically.
Digitization in agribusiness includes mapping and analysis of the land bank: size of sites, structure of soils, amount of precipitation, previous agricultural crop varieties, history of processing, meteorological history and much more.
Not only a house can be smart – a poultry farm can also be smart.
In regard to animal husbandry, digitization is the collection, storage, processing and analysis of livestock data up to each individual animal.
Thanks to such platforms, you can quickly make decisions and react to negative factors. And also be able to do what was considered in the agrarian business for centuries to be the biggest problem – to predict.
3. Innovations of the final product
This direction is best illustrated with the help of a specific case. In Holland, among other things, innovations are used in the process of processing – in order to preserve the maximum amount of useful substances. For example, there was developed a technology for cooking with Pulsed Electric Fields (PEF). This is a very fast processing at low temperatures, an alternative to pasteurization of thermally sensitive foods.
4. Automation of industrial production and processes
Not only a house can be smart – a poultry farm can also be smart. This means orderly feeding, monitoring the microclimate, collecting information on the state of health and the mobility of birds.
There can be smart fields also that are fertilized and sprayed with plant protection inputs by drones, introduced to sensible irrigation and other fantastic things.
Israel can be taken as an example of agricultural automation – a state that has become a real innovation miracle. One of the most breakthrough innovations introduced in this country is drip irrigation. This idea was embraced by the Israeli engineer Simh Blass in the middle of the last century. He noticed that a low-speed, balanced irrigation has a better effect on plant growth.
Blass created a system of tubes that slowly irrigated the territory. The technology was tested in kibbutz Hatserim, which in the early 1950s was considered unsuitable for agricultural work due to excessive salinity of soils. After the introduction of drip irrigation, the kibbutz began to export products around the world, turning into one of the richest settlements in Israel.
Israeli micro-irrigation systems have been operating in different countries since then. They are self-cleaning, maintain a uniform velocity of irrigation, and can work without consuming electricity due to gravity. The Tipa System (literally “Drop”) has enabled 700 farmers in Senegal to harvest three times a year instead of one in the same way as in Israel, infertile land. Then there were Kenya, South Africa, Benin and Nigeria.
5. Energy efficiency, green energy and waste management
In recent years everybody and pretty often talks about the problem of low energy efficiency in the Ukrainian economy, as well as about the problem of waste management. The agribusiness sector is one of the few sectors that not only consumes energy, but provides resources for alternative energy sources. On the one hand, we want to use traditional energy resources as cost-effectively as possible, and on the other hand, to process the waste into a biogas, thoroughly clean technological water, reduce emissions, and introduce the most environmentally friendly types of packaging.
At this juncture, Iceland can serve as a vivid example. Innovation in this country stem from two factors: the abundance of water and the lack of sunlight. Therefore, the northern island state develops a culture of automated greenhouses that are heated through “green” technologies. Icelanders are so committed to the philosophy of sustainable environmental development that even created the entire Ministry of Industry and Innovation.
6. Online platforms
These include auctions based on blockchain technologies and smart contracts, automation of customs clearance and authorization, online analysis and price comparison.
A separate direction is the automated exchange of resources between counterparties to prevent the accumulation of non-liquidity.
7. Innovations in corporate management
This area covers everything that is connected to the digital transformation of agribusiness: personnel management, document management workflow, financial accounting and analysis, bookkeeping, management reporting, and reference services. In general, the entire office routine, which one wants to delegate to AI.
The solutions to fight fraud and improve security are always relevant. Moreover, it is desirable that the “struggle” turned into a prediction. Well, or detection at a very early stage.
Today, the agrarian sector is the top sector in the world. Ukraine is obliged to take a leading position in this market. The country’s potential is huge. All that is needed is to combine natural resources with the latest technology and innovative thinking people.