Digitally transforming Australian agriculture will be instrumental in supporting the rising demand of international markets, according to analyst firm, IDC.
The company said that, through a significant focus on its role in the Australian national interest, agriculture has been plagued with a unique set of challenges. But in response, the industry is steadily becoming more consolidated and integrated, as new government and stakeholder investments grow.
In addition, it said agriculture is being looked upon to fill the export void left by declining mining markets.
IDC vertical market analyst, Jaideep Thyagarajan, said the proximity to attractive Asian markets, a strong institutional framework, and a positive inclination to harness technology have made agriculture an attractive sector for investments.
According to Thyagarajan, spending on farm-operation related technologies will grow over four per cent annually to 2020.
“Consequently, there is no shortage of innovation in agriculture, but issues exist, specifically, scaling out of capabilities are challenging due to an industry mostly composed of small-scale family owned businesses
“In addition, large farms controlled by few farmers are often located in harsh physical environments, making connectivity difficult,” he said.
He isolated third platform technologies like mobility, cloud, and big data as having an ability to introduce agility and improve decision-making.
Thyagarajan added that there is an urgent need to drive productivity, while continuing to improve the quality and quantity of the produce.
“Empowering the workforce, reducing human error, and limiting manual intervention are important considerations and there is tremendous scope for third platform technologies to deliver these outcomes.
"The potential for third platform technologies to improve revenue and cost outcomes for agricultural enterprises is significant. This realisation by agricultural organisations, government, and IT vendors is creating a swirl of engagement,” Thyagarajan said.
He also mentioned that in the last year, the analyst firm has seen strong collaboration between IT and industry expertise to create new offerings focused on IoT and effective data utilisation.
“The expected increase in spending corresponds to renewed interests to drive yield and variety alongside sustainable farming practices. Spending on third party information services is expected to be predominantly flat with a modest five-year CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 1.3 per cent.
"Third party information services are largely data intensive. Poor connectivity and restricted access to state-of-the-art IT platforms and expertise are acting as barriers to unleash the hidden potential of data analytics in agriculture" he added.