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Thursday, October 29, 2015

The future of Agriculture

Inventions in science and technology has always changed the way in which we lived our lives. In ancient times if someone has to travel a thousand miles he would do it on foot, it would take months for him to reach his destination. After that of course man learnt how to tame animals and make them his pets. So humans tamed horses and started using it for travelling. In time humans learnt to built carriages to which he can tie more than one horse and use horse carts and chariots. As his skills improved he built bicycles, motorcycles, cars, aeroplanes and ultimately spacecrafts that left the gravitational of earth. 

We see the influence of technology in every sphere of our lives. Can farming stay away from it? Farming is perhaps the most vital among all occupations. It is only because of farming that we are able to get food otherwise life would have been very very difficult for us the humans, most of us would die starving. 

Now lets see how farming is done. You have a piece of land first of all you dig it up to make it nice and loose and then put natural and artificial manure over it in proper amounts. Then you have to plant the seeds of the desired crops in a recommended way so as to get maximum crop yield. The seeds have to be supplied with a proper amount of water and when the plants come out, it has to be protected against pests, diseases and other natural factors. 

Now most of the above mentioned activities can be done by machines that can be controlled remotely using a remote control or better artificially intelligent machines can be used to do the above mentioned activities in a pre programmed fashion. So very little human effort is required to farm over a large area of land. What's required more is human intelligence. 

So with constant improvements in biotechnology and genetic engineering we will have higher yields from the fields with less and less human effort. Now that implies for countries like India, where 50% to 60% of the population is directly or indirectly involved in agriculture as a source of their livelihood, physical labour of most farmers won't be needed. 

So what will happen to major portion of the population that is involved in agriculture. Well they must be supplied their basic needs free of cost since they are the ones who own land. In the future it will surely be possible to grow amounts of food items the would surpass the need of humankind many times over, but with this here comes a problem - having free access to basic needs will make people lazy. 

We see that in affluent families where people have access to so much that they don't need to work for the rest of their lives. Yet they work hard some of them start their own business and many get into social work. A man normally is not able do his best work when he has to work, a man does his best work when he loves to do his work. 

Free access to basic resources like food, water, health and residence will give people to practice the profession of their choice, do what the want to do without worrying too much about money. Many people in the world have to give up on their dreams and do what they don't like just for the sake of money. So many potential researchers end up in the corporate boardrooms selling lipsticks, liquor or underwear. 

Returning back to the main subject of this blog, in the future we will see more and more usage of technology in farming. You will definitely see robots of all shapes and sizes tilling vast areas of land, seeding the land , controlling the flow of water and controlling pests as well. The cost of farming will come down drastically and so will the cost of farm products. 

Technology can be a great boon for people if implemented intelligently. 

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