Although experts give different answers to the question in our headline, the common point they underline is the same: Digitalization!
Digitalization in agriculture offers opportunities for solutions to problems such as hunger, inefficiency and climate change. At this point, however, the necessity of putting human factor at the centre and need for international cooperation are emphasized. Many experts say that farmers need to prioritize digitalization in order to increase their productivity by adding innovation to their production. For this, it is necessary to include agriculture in the “value chain”.
The world population is expected to be at least 9 billion in 2050. The great majority of these people will be living in less developed and developing countries. To feed so many people in a healthy way, it is necessary to ensure the sustainability of agricultural production.
With digitalization in agriculture, farmers can easily reach market prices. In addition, production planning can be done much more accurately and the agricultural market will be more transparent. International cooperation is essential in order to implement this order where marketing will be much more efficient. In short, it is necessary to create an international infrastructure for agricultural digitalization in order to increase the production and feed more people. This system, also called “Smart Farming,” uses less resources, resulting in more products. This will make resources more sustainable.
Dr. Arif Behic Tekin from Ege University Faculty Of Agriculture states that the application of “Smart Farming” is inevitable: “Smart Farming is a necessity, not a choice in agricultural production. The solution for the negations of conventional agriculture can only be possible with this transformation. Innovations in agricultural technologies brought by this philosophical transformation (variable level application systems, Internet of Objects, unmanned land and air vehicles, farm management information systems) have been producing knowledge and prototypes in our country for the last two decades and are ready to use.”
Opportunity for Turkey?
Prof. Dr. Kerem Alkin, Secretary General of Turkish Exporters Assembly, points out that only 15 million square kilometers of land is currently arable worldwide over 149 million square kilometers total livable environment. “Today’s world population has already reached 7.5 billion, this figure in 2050 will be 9.6 billion, and 11.3 billion in 2100. That means that the world’s agricultural production and food production should increase mininum 60 percent by 2050. This presents Turkey with an opportunity window where it can feed 3 billion people together with the second zone neighbouring countries,” Alkin says.
In other words, Turkey can create great value by feeding the world with the right agricultural policies and the steps it will take towards digitalization. In 2002, the total value added production of Turkish agriculture was 23.7 billion dollars of which 3.75 billion dollars was gained from export items. As of the end of 2017, Turkey exported 1730 kinds of agricultural products to 186 countries and the value added agricultural production reached 51.7 billion dollars. In other words, Turkey managed to increase agricultural value by 28 billion dollars between 2002 and 2017. Moreover, these figures have emerged with a capacity that is not fully usable, as everyone knows. In other words, Turkey can be a country that feeds the world in 2050 and get wealthier this way.