In this article, we discuss the 12 most advanced countries in agriculture technology. You can skip our detailed analysis of the agricultural industry, the looming food-insecurity problem and trends to watch in 2023, and go directly to 5 Most Advanced Countries in Agriculture Technology.
Unsustainable agricultural practices have resulted in 40% of the land becoming too degraded for productive agriculture, according to UN results, with 90% of the world’s overall topsoil further at risk by 2050. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s an 11 gigaton GHG mitigation gap between the anticipated agricultural emissions by the mid-century, and the target level required to hold temperatures from rising above 2°C.
Further, agriculture requires 70% of the world’s fresh water supply, which we are quickly running out of. Pew Trusts notes that by 2025, more than half of the global population would be residing in water stressed regions. However, the human population is projected to reach 10 billion by 2050 according to UN estimates. With that, the food demand is expected to increase by 59% to 98%, as noted by Harvard Business Review.
To keep up, food production will have to increase by over 50% but pushing that rate with the present conditions is too far out in the overshoot zone to be sustainable, all other things constant.
The situation is bleak and given the momentum the population projection has right now, technology is the best bet to avoid a crisis that could otherwise create mass hunger, civil unrest and chaos at a global scale. In this regard, agricultural technology, more simply known as agri-tech, is poised to become far too important in the near future.
Agritech Industry: An Analysis
The above fact is reflected in the quantitative projections for the agri-tech industry. It was valued at $19.5 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $46.4 billion by 2030, growing at a solid CAGR of 17.3%, per Spherical Research’s market insights.
Governments, especially in the US, are also expected to step in and support the agri-tech market through subsidies, owing to the emergency, which is factored-in the forecast. That said, investment in agri-tech has hit a bump on the road due to supply-chain constraints and stagflation which may disturb the timeline.
Key Agri-Tech Players and Trends to Watch in 2023
Some of the most decisive agricultural technologies have to do with sustainability, since it's the most pressing problem faced by the sector.
In this regard, Indoor Vertical Farming is an important technology, which has been shown to reduce land and water usage by 99% and 70% respectively. Prominent players in this domain are AeroFarms, InFarm and Agricool, based in the US, Germany and France, respectively.
Then there’s N-Drip micro-irrigation systems that save 50% in water usage while improving crop yield. Major companies in the micro-irrigation industry include Lindsay Corporation (NYSE:LNN) and The Toro Company (NYSE:TTC), among others.
Some Information-Technology companies are also involved in the business. For instance, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s FarmBeats uses machine learning and cloud computing to track soil temperature and moisture to assist in efficient irrigation management to conserve water.
The majority of countries that are advanced in agri-technology have two things in common - advanced economies and high agricultural output. High agricultural output has compelled these countries to invest in innovation in agri-technology to sustain and grow their outputs.
Let’s move on to the list of 12 most advanced countries in agriculture technology.
For our list of 12 most advanced countries in agriculture technology, we’ve ranked them based on the number of agri-technology startups operating in the countries. We’ve sourced the data from Tracxn, a premier platform that tracks startups in different countries across more than 230 sectors.
We’ve also discussed the important companies, as well as other factors like investment and practical implementation of these technologies.
12. South Korea
Number of Agri-Tech Startups: 72
South Korea is one of the wealthiest and most scientifically advanced countries in East Asia, with a GDP size of $1.8 trillion as of 2021. In the same year, its agriculture sector accounted for 1.84% of its GDP. The main crop in the country is rice.
Smart-agriculture ecosystem has been taking root in the country. In 2014, only 405 hectares of land and 23 households were dedicated to smart farms and smart livestock respectively. In 2021, these figures have jumped to 6,485 hectares of land and 4,743 livestock households respectively.
South Korea has some notable startups that are trying to disrupt the industry and solve problems relating to agricultural sustainability. Prominent companies include Green Labs, G+ Flas Life Sciences and EGG Tube.
Number of Agri-Tech Startups: 76
Japan is another East Asian country on the list of most advanced countries in agriculture technology. Agricultural sector has made up 1% of its GDP in 2022 according to the World Bank. Japan wants to more than double its agriculture exports from 2019, when they amounted to $9 billion. The country aims to export $19 billion worth agricultural products by 2025, sensing the market need. The agritech sector in Japan is valued at $1.66 billion.
In that order, the far East Asian nation is transforming its agricultural industry through technology. Spread and Routerek are two examples of highly innovative companies that are disrupting the industry. The former produces hydroponically grown lettuce while the latter has developed sensor-based systems for drip irrigation.
Routerek's business model is roughly similar to those of Lindsay Corporation (NYSE:LNN), The Toro Company (NYSE:TTC) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) when it comes to irrigation efficiency.
10. New Zealand
Number of Agri-Tech Startups: 185
Agriculture made up 5.65% of New Zealand’s GDP in 2019, per Statista figures. New Zealand has a healthy agritech sector that contributes $1.5 billion to the country’s export economy, according to the official numbers from the government.
Some startups include BioLumic and Opo Bio. The former manufactures and supplies ultraviolet equipment as well as treatment solutions to enhance crops’ pest/disease resistance, yield and hardiness. The latter develops cell-culture-based meat products, to offset the impact of cattle farming on the planet.
Number of Agri-Tech Startups: 225
Israel is an important country when it comes to the most advanced countries in agriculture technology. It is home to Simcha Blass, the inventor of Drip Irrigation, a highly efficient irrigation method that requires 20-50% less water than other irrigation methods.
Further, Professor Uri Shani, a prominent Israeli water expert, is credited with the development of the N-Drip micro-irrigation system, which further cuts costs for expensive pumps and water filters and reduces 50% of water usage.
All this is thanks to an atmosphere of innovation, with the country drawing 28 times more venture capital per capita than the United States in 2021, despite the US having some of the biggest companies in the world like Lindsay Corporation (NYSE:LNN), The Toro Company (NYSE:TTC) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)
Some notable agritech companies in Israel include Kaiima, Equinom and Fieldin.
Number of Agri-Tech Startups: 292
France is the biggest producer of agricultural products in Europe. Agricultural output accounted for 1.6% of the country’s GDP in 2021. The country has 292 agritech startups as of 2022.
Some of these include Ynsect, Limagrain and Agronutris. Ynsect is involved in developing insect cultures that convert cereals into nutrient sources for pet feed.
Limagrain on the other hand, is involved in production and supply of GMO and non-GMO-based seeds while Agronutris is a manufacturer of insect-based organic fertilizers.
Number of Agri-Tech Startups: 297
Germany has the second highest agricultural output behind France but the country has a slightly higher number of agritech startups than the latter. As of 2022, 297 agritech startups are operating in Germany.
The EU leader has a strong economy and according to Global Data, the agritech industry is valued at nearly $0.6 billion in the country in 2021, with an YoY increase of 14%. Its top startups include Infarm and FarmInsect. While agritech has the smallest share in the overall number of startups in Germany, the R&D done in the country is highly impactful. According to the National Science Foundation, Germany’s share in the global Knowledge and Technology Intensive (KTI) industries output is 6%, one of the highest in the world.
6. The Netherlands
Number of Agri-Tech Startups: 320
The Netherlands is a country in Northwestern Europe. It is the second largest exporter of agricultural products behind the United States.
The country has been described by the Washington Post as well as by World Economic Forum as a model to follow for technology-based sustainable agriculture. About twenty years ago, the country made the commitment to produce twice as much food as resource usage.
The initiative has led to many farmers across the country reducing reliance on water for major crops by as much as 90%, as noted by National Geographic.
Use of pesticides has also been virtually phased out and its Duijvestijn tomatoes are grown in greenhouses using geothermal energy and hydroponic systems that rely on less water. This is all thanks to a culture of innovation. Some of its top startups include Protix, DNA Genetics and PlantLab.
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Disclosure: none. 12 Most Advanced Countries in Agriculture Technology is originally published on Insider Monkey.