In 2017, the global precision farming software market was valued at USD 824.0 million, which is expected to register a CAGR of about 16.7% during 2018-2023 (the forecast period). North America and Europe are the biggest and most mature markets, which use innovative technologies in the field of agriculture while Asia has the greatest growth potential.
The use of hi-tech agricultural techniques is not a new concept. With the initiatives from European Commission, such as European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI), there is larger awareness and market penetration of technologies, related to precision agriculture, across Europe. Regions, such as Asia and South America, have huge growth potentials for precision agriculture and, consequently, precision farming software.
The agriculture industry is growing steadily, in order to feed the globally increasing population, by the use of latest technologies. With the progression in technology (GPS/GNSS) and the evolution of Big Data, there are management software that are expected to revolutionize the way of traditional farming. The geospatial data collected helps to analyze and find the best time to plant and harvest, which cuts down the tension on environmental impacts, streamlining of work, fatigue, and ultimately, costs. Precision farming tools can also address the issue of yield gap, where yields are not at the level of full utilization, which can be addressed by identifying the core issues preventing full utilization through positioning systems and sensors. A recent study revealed that increasing yields of the 16 most important crops, worldwide, could lead to an increase in the production of food by over 50%.
Data security relates to securing information from unauthorized access while data privacy deals with collecting, retaining, and using the data, in accordance with privacy laws. The agriculture technology providers (ATP) not only integrate data related to a farm but also collect financial and other personally identifiable information, which may have many legal restrictions associated.
In 2014, an agreement to address the privacy and protection issues of precision farming was signed between key farm organizations and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), known as Farm Data Principles. With precision farming used more often in Europe, it regulates and enforces the data stewardship issues, by adopting Data Protection Directive. Recently, the Parliament in Europe adopted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect from May 24, 2016, and various business organizations were given two years’ time to align businesses with GDPR. The measures can go a long way in tackling confidentiality issues over a period. However, currently, security and privacy concerns remain a major challenge for all stakeholders.
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