Annual Review of the Agriculture Sector 2022
The following article, compiled with the help of e-shape’s EO experts in the agricultural sector, is the first in a series of articles which will look into the significant developments, challenges, and trends in the relevant e-shape sectors.
Although there are still many associated uncertainties, Laurent Tits (Showcase 1 Pilot 1) remarked that “Carbon credits have been taking off in 2022”. In fact, the continued push for the application of EO technologies in monitoring, reporting, and verifying carbon farming-related activities has been one of the major trends in the sector this year. Partners from Riscognition (Showcase 1 Pilot 5) also commented on the continued emergence of AI, with rapid development in this field, with higher and higher expectations being set for EO data and technologies as new ways of handling and exploring data solutions are required. Another major event that drastically impacted the agricultural sector in 2022 is the ongoing war in Ukraine. “The food security concerns we are facing at the moment have further underlined the value and necessity of highly accurate remotely sensed crop monitoring services in the region.”, added Sergiy Sylantyev (Showcase 1 Pilot 6).
AI computing for data exploitation, automation, and integration of EO and non-EO data are some of the several sectorial trends listed by partners from Riscognition. According to Laurents Tits: “Digitalisation in agriculture is very big, and it also brings challenges concerning the alignment of different actors in this digital domain (data standards, interoperability, etc.)”. Moreover, according to respondents, another major trend in the sector is the continued uptake of sustainable practices with reduced environmental impact leading to the development of more resilient business models for farmers.
One of the biggest challenges for service providers remains developing and sustaining business relationships with private users as most EO clients remain primarily governmental and public bodies. Laurent also added that, “there is a real challenge in combining the Green Deal targets (e.g., 5% reduction in nutrient and pesticide application) with the operational reality within which farmers work.”
Clear compliance rules for EO companies are needed to shape suitable products. “Harmonised rules would make scaling easier”, stated partners from Riscognition, continuing “Differing rules per country is more demanding for service development”. Laurent mentions that a response to the current challenges is “Digitalisation and connection of various EO-data streams with other data streams to ensure added value of EO data for various actors in the food chain”. He added that more operational products are needed, such as soil organic carbon measurement, management practices and impact assessments for drought and disease. Sergiy Sylantyev sees that further consistent investment in research and innovation of the sector is necessary, stating “Strengthening the European research environment in EO will support overcoming the challenges”.