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Advancing UN Sustainable Development Goals with Digital Agriculture

May 28, 2020

Digital agriculture — digital and geospatial technologies to monitor, assess and manage soil, climatic and genetic resources — illustrates how to meet sustainability challenges within the agricultural industry. It can help balance the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable food and plant production. Digital agriculture therefore has the potential to advance many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are seen as the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Below are some examples of areas of application across the agricultural industry.

SDG 2: Zero hunger

  • Make better farming and growing decisions by supplementing local knowledge developed over generations with real-time, detailed, environmental
  • Increase yield per acre and reduce production loss to help improve food security and increase the food output, required to keep up with population growth.
  • Improve transparency and sharing of information. By providing quantitative data on factors that have been difficult until now to measure and interpret, farmers will be able to improve their economic Financiers and insurers can also better understand risk to protect agri- and horticultural businesses financially.

SDG 6: Availability and sustainable management of water

  • Waste less water through a better understanding of soil moisture, crop health and weather forecasting – provide only as much water to the plants as needed.
  • Reduce chemical use and run-off into local water

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

  • Give more power to those working in agri- and horticulture and support related innovations such as up-to-date pricing and trading – particularly the ability to facilitate trade without using intermediaries.

SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

  • Improve resilience and effectiveness of food and agricultural supply chains through better integrated systems and information sharing.

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

  • Enable more sustainable city growth through better waste management as a result of improved integration and monitoring across the food value chain.

SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production

  • Provide information which allows consumers to be more responsible.
  • Reduce waste through better decision making across the supply chain, using predictions of harvest yields and quality to improve planning.
  • Reduce waste in storage through improved planning and by linking agricultural sensors with transport management systems to reduce food spoilage.
  • Reduce the chemicals used, and improve long-term soil management through better planned crop rotations.

SDG 14/15: Life on land/below water

  • Reduce chemical run-off contaminating oceans.
  • Promote more sustainable land ecosystems through a more considered use of land and approach to forestry.

SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

  • Allow companies to partner to increase the impact on all the SDGs through improved availability of information.

 

Source: Project Breakthrough (UN Global Impact) and PA Knowledge Limited

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