©FAO/ A. Khalimov
While efforts to increase food production through so-called “smart farming” might conjure images of artificial intelligence, robots and big data, improving agriculture isn’t always about cutting-edge technology. And when it comes to rural smallholder farming, being “smart” is often about finding affordable and clever ways of boosting crop production while using natural resources efficiently and without harming the environment.
That’s precisely what FAO’s “Smart Farming for the Future Generation” project is about.
The USD 3.4 million project, funded by the Government of the Republic of Korea, is helping dozens of rural families in Uzbekistan and Vietnam improve their agricultural production in greenhouses in ways that enable them to produce more food with less pesticides, less mineral fertilizers, less water, less labour and more safety.
The overarching idea is to make greenhouses more efficient by addressing five interrelated factors: climate control; pest and disease management; irrigation; plant nutrition; and cultivation practices.
Using sound scientific advice and evidence-based solutions, whether traditional or modern, the project is turning greenhouse farming into successful businesses, providing their owners with higher incomes and increasing employment opportunities for communities, as well as offering more diverse, affordable and safer food, all year round.
“We have seen high-tech greenhouses with high levels of investment but low productivity because local conditions have not been considered. Low-cost systems such as these optimized greenhouses offer greater yields with less resources,” said Melvin Medina Navarro, the project’s lead technical officer.
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