CES 2022: Food Insecurity Entrepreneurs Recommend Robotics for Crop Monitoring

The innovators say collecting data on growing conditions is key to securing global food supplies.

CES 2022: Food Insecurity Entrepreneurs Recommend Robotics for Crop Monitoring
Suma Reddy, Vonnie Estes, Anne Palermo and Michael Wolf at CES2022

LAS VEGAS, January 10, 2021 – Several leaders of businesses aimed at combatting food insecurity say that a focus on crop-monitoring robotics will be key to securing food supplies around the world.

The luminaries emphasized the importance of collecting data on growing conditions and suggested a focus for companies on such monitoring technology rather than on expensive robotics that would be able to perform harvesting of crops.

Speaking on a CES panel Friday, experts in the field Suma Reddy, co-founder and CEO at agricultural organization Future Acres, Vonnie Estes, vice president of innovation at the International Fresh Produce Association, and Anne Palermo, co-founder and CEO at seafood alternative producer Aqua Cultured Foods, remarked on future solutions to food insecurity.

Reddy remarked on the importance of measuring health and yield characteristics of crops as precision agriculture technology begins to be paired with robotic devices.

Estes particularly stated that such technology can be used to provide insights on how agricultural chemicals should be best used in farming and can predict when crops such as apples should be harvested based on when the apples’ trees flower.

She noted that harvesting crops at their ideal ripeness through this method helps to reduce food waste by decreasing the amount of food harvested when it is not fully fresh, and also said that food waste can be studied and reduced by using blockchain to pinpoint where in supply chains food is sitting unpurchased.

Estes additionally stated that while she doesn’t recommend an outsized focus on robotics to harvest crops, she has seen demand for robotics to replace some tedious human work such as placing rubber bands around bunches of scallions.

Reddy says that while robotic technology would replace some human jobs in agriculture, new jobs would be created to oversee the data and technology behind new robotic systems being implemented for farming and food processing.

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