If I said the word ‘agriculture’ to you, would you think of cows grazing, endless fields of corn, grain silos, and red barns? Or, would you think about modern farm technology in agriculture like GPS, remote sensors, aeroponic systems, on-farm renewable energy systems, et al?
Whatever you envisioned, chances are the word nanotechnology did not immediately come to mind. So, how does nanotechnology play a role in supporting sustainable agriculture?
The New Ventures Global Investor Forum will be held in New York next week. The focus of the forum will be on Green Opportunities in Tomorrow’s Markets. Participating startup companies whose products promote sustainable agriculture, biomass-based renewable energy systems, and forestry include:
AliBio, a Mexico-based biotechnology company that develops products for aquaculture, agriculture, and water treatment. The company’s product are primarily developed from microorganisms. The company develops a non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, all natural microbial product that effectively restores the microbial balance of soils in turn reducing the need for conventional fertilizers by 10 – 25%.
People are moving in ever increasing numbers from rural areas into urban city centers. Global population is expected to increase by nearly 40% to 9 billion people in the next 40 years. Threats to agriculture from climate change, loss of arable land, pesticide resistance, and water shortages continue to grow more acute. As noted in our previous article “Urban and Agriculture Can Coexist,” cities and their attendant entrepreneurs will need to embrace urban agriculture in order to meet this future demand for food and ensure food security.
Walmart and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently teamed up on an initiative to bolster rural farmers in Central America and integrate them into the company’s supply chain. The agreement will help small farmers to earn more from their vegetable and fruit growing operations, which will in turn enable them to improve their economic livelihood. The partnership unites Walmart’s nascent Global Sustainable Agriculture initiatives with the USAID’s Feed the Future program, a global hunger and food security initiative focused on investing in agricultural development to sustainably reduce hunger and poverty. The U.S. has pledged $3.5 billion over the next 3 years
According to a USDA survey, on-farm renewable energy production continues to grow in rural America. More than 8,500 farm operators are currently producing renewable energy using methane digesters, solar panels, and wind turbines. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack hopes the survey will encourage more operators to produce their own energy. Vilsack noted that: “The reality is there is a significant energy savings and a money savings associated with these operations. And so as farmers and ranchers and growers learn about the fact that they can save $2,500 or so on their energy bills they may be more interested in this.”