Heated debates over biotechnology, new opportunities for smallholders in developing markets and a ‘year of reckoning’ for novel farming techniques were on the horizon in 2019, according to investor Anterra Capital.
Gene-editing technology would fuel heated debate, with it having the potential to revolutionise food and agriculture and ready to be consumed at scale in the UK.
But Axel Wehr, principal at Anterra, said this would fuel heated debate between consumers, regulators, scientists and industry about the future of this technology,
“The topic will be particularly contentious in Europe, in light of the continent’s historic skepticism of genetic modification.”
With internet enabled mobile phones at an ‘inflection point’ Mr Wehr suggested 2019 could be the year smallholders in emerging markets, who have historically lacked access to resources, finance and knowledge, discover the benefits.
Technology was also enabling food chains to move closer to the consumer in new novel techniques such as rooftop farms, tunnels and containers.
However he predicted 2019 would be ‘a year of reckoning’ for these innovators as some face the tough economic reality of scaling the system while others forge ahead.
Mr Wehr also suggested 2019 could be the year agriculture emerges as a battleground for tech giants, as while software and cloud service giants such as IBM, Microsoft and Amazon have ‘dipped their toes in’ the industry has yet to see major advances.
“Their bold moves around the smart home and self-driving cars are shaking up the household appliance and automotive industries.”
He said a similar disruption in agriculture would act as a ‘much needed’ catalyst for a farming software and precision ag landscape which was full of promise.