AGRICULTURE NEWS

UN: AGRICULTURAL AUTOMATION CAN BOOST GLOBAL FOOD PRODUCTION

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, has released The State of Food and Agriculture 2022 report. The report’s authors said automation is rapidly changing the face of agriculture. New technologies are quickly leaving behind some of the old larger-type tractors and large machinery in ways that could benefit small holders in developing countries. FAO said automation can play an important role in making food production more efficient and more environmentally friendly. Chief FAO economist Maximo Torero said with any technological change, automation also implies disruption to the agricultural systems and involve risk like it could exacerbate inequalities if not carefully done and developed and deployed.” The report looks at 27 case studies from all over the world. They represent technologies at different stages of readiness suitable for large or small agricultural producers of varying levels of income. Torero said the report investigates the drivers of these technologies and identifies barriers preventing their adoption, particularly by small-scale producers. The report also looks at one of the most common concerns about automation, that it creates unemployment. In areas where cheap labor is abundant, the FAO urges policymakers to avoid subsidizing automation while creating an enabling environment for its adoption. At the same time, the report said governments should provide social protection to the least skilled workers who are likely to lose their jobs during the transition.