Feed & Food – The 4th Agricultural Revolution

will be hosted from 5 to 7 SEPTEMBER 2023 at SUN CITY, SOUTH AFRICA.

The first agricultural revolution occurred around 10,000 BC, marking the change from nomadic hunter-gatherer cultures to more fixed settlements. This necessitated the use of cultivated fields to provide a steady supply of food.

The second agricultural revolution happened much later and lasted from mid-17th to late 19th century. Irrespective of increased human labour, innovations during this period primarily led to tremendous productivity improvements such as advanced ploughing techniques, crop rotation, selective animal breeding, improved transportation and land drainage, which enabled geographic expansion.

In the 1950s and 1960s, significant advances in agricultural mechanisation, chemical fertilisers, and new high-yielding crop development led to the third agricultural revolution. These changes were considerably more pronounced in developing countries where the introduction of high-yield rice, wheat and corn led to enormous improvements in the standard of living.

We are now entering the fourth agricultural revolution (Agriculture 4.0). In the coming years, Agriculture 4.0 will undergo significant structural changes which will mostly be sparked by technological developments and digital advances. Among many other innovations, some advancements may include automation (robotics), artificial intelligence, gene editing, nutrigenics, traceability, precision livestock farming, waste reduction, improved logistics, etc. At the same time, never-ending economic ‘crises’ are also now commonplace. In the modern world, there is no ‘normal’ and animal agriculture must be able to evolve and mitigate the effects of sudden change. As an integral part of the animal protein production chain, feed manufacturing will have an important role to play in providing sustainable animal protein to satisfy an ever-increasing demand. Improvement in health, food security and safety are taking place under even more challenging conditions, such as reduced resources, rising wealth and the responsibility of manufacturers/producers to adopt environmentally sound practices.


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