“New technology is disrupting every industry, and agriculture is no exception,” says Liza de Beer, from Old Mutual Insure’s Retail Business.

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However, since March 2020, this has been accelerated by the increased focus on the importance of agriculture for economic recovery and food security in future.

Changing consumer behaviour and expectations

Due to lockdown measures and the restrictions on the mobility of people, there is a significant increase in people going online for goods and services, even if they might not have used digital channels to access these goods and services in the past.

Consumers are discovering ever more productive and cost-effective methods to perform the same task, whether for transactions, education, business, or personal purposes. As a result, they no longer expect only the experience they were offered before, but they have now developed much higher expectations.

This causes irreversible changes in the way we live, eat, make purchases, and communicate. It contributes to changing consumer needs, and shapes the way in which individuals and businesses connect and conduct business with local and global companies.

Accelerated digital adoption affects business

Various industries already offer channel-friendly solutions and access to various products within existing distribution and retail channels. Many businesses along the food chain are adapting to this change in consumer behaviour and demand, adjusting production lines, increasing capacity to manage larger inventories, moving to online platforms, and delivering directly to households.

Likewise for the agriculture industry, adopting digital technology has become very important, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The rapid progression of digital adoption has brought on a new mindset, and with farmers welcoming the future with an open mind by giving old and new technology a chance.

Farmers are beginning to leverage mobile technologies and devices, data analytics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), remote sensing, and various other products, services and platforms that are delivered digitally.

Data capability is key for future farming

Whether you are tracking freight volumes or produce movement, or trying to improve production, technology has made the collecting, organising and use of any data effortless.

In a fast-changing and unpredictable agricultural environment, it has become even more important than before for farmers to collect real-time and accurate data to help improve decision-making.

Technology also enables farmers to obtain data that indicates, among other things, soil quality, moisture content, fertiliser, and many more. In addition, this results in a reduction in water consumption, energy, and fertiliser application.

“The use of new technology and data will help the agricultural sector to modernise at a faster pace and to meet many challenges. Online platforms and digital solutions also help farmers to connect and interact easily with service providers and to effectively manage business with suppliers and stakeholders across the agricultural value chain,” concludes Liza.

This article is intended to provide information and does not constitute legal advice.

Visit our website at www.ominsure.co.za for information about our agricultural product solutions.

Old Mutual Insure Limited is a licensed FSP and non-life insurer. All products are underwritten by Old Mutual Insure.