The mechanization of farming has given us high yields that were once impossible to achieve. However, does making agriculture increasingly high-tech always mean better profits for growers? This article from Tech Wire Asia has some interesting thoughts to share:
MUCH HAS BEEN MADE of the impact of technology and its capability to drive high growth and amazing results in short periods of time, but there’s a big question mark as to whether or not everyone should be jumping in to incorporate the latest and greatest technologies promising the sun and the moon for their bottom lines.
This was especially true when you think about some pretty expensive systems, such as machine learning and automation programs meant to take off the slack on human employees. These are great systems that can have a real monetary cost to them that might not necessarily be beneficial to the company if it results in driving up costs.
Executives and decision makers in companies need to really focus on what tech will work positively for their companies, especially if there isn’t any significant ROI to speak of.
A farm in Singapore drew particular focus on the issue, as the owners battle with whether or not to bring in technologies that could potentially benefit their business. The Jurong Frog Farm, the only place in Singapore that breeds American bullfrogs, is weighing the wisdom of integrating a new recirculating aquaculture system that could help them continue their business should they be moved off their current land when their lease ends.
The problem at the heart of it is that the Singaporean government is implementing a new policy that would weight farmers’ adoption of sustainable and productivity-boosting technologies as a factor in the land-lease bidding process.
A tender released in August will evaluate bids partly on the basis of these farmers’ ability to harness innovation and sustain production, a challenge for many small, independent farms that may not be able to afford such investments.
According to the farm directors, the aquaculture system – which relies on a single stock of water that is repeatedly treated and recycled – could cost hundreds of thousands of Singaporean dollars as it’ll need to be refitted to suit the needs of a frog farm. Estimates and initial sums indicate that the small farm would not be able to afford such an investment, and it could actually set them back, according to Chelsea Wan who is the director of Jurong Frog Farm.
“Even with government subsidies at implementation, the running cost of such a system might force us to eventually pass on costs to customers, who may simply turn to other farms in the region, which have plenty of land and water,” she said to the Straits Times.
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