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Which is better: traditional or technology-driven?

In my recent conversations, the debate of growing crops traditionally was compared to the modern techniques that exist for crop production.

In this article, we will analyse both the pros and cons of both and the best options for small-scale farmers and commercial farmers.

Traditional agriculture can be defined as a primitive style of food production and farming that involves the intensive use of indigenous knowledge, land use, traditional tools, natural resources, organic fertiliser, and cultural beliefs of the farmers.

Technology-driven agriculture is the use of digital technology to integrate agricultural production from the farm to the consumer. These technologies can provide the agricultural industry with tools and information to make more informed decisions and improve productivity.

We can further analyse the two methods under the following parameters:

 

Parameter

Techniques

Fertilisers

Input

Number of crop varieties

Knowledge system

Product standards

 

Modern farming

Hydroponics, precision agriculture, and mono-cropping

Synthetic fertilisers

Higher input required

Less

Scientific knowledge system

High

 

Traditional farming

Crop rotation, agroforestry, slash and burn cultivation

Manure, vegetable waste, ash, synthetic fertilisers

Lower input required

More

Traditional knowledge system

Low

 

Traditional agriculture is still heavily practised because of its benefits to the producers and consumers, including availability and price. However, there are also disadvantages attributed to this method.

Pros

  • Reduced costs – According to farmers who practise other farming methods, one of its benefits is the cheaper costs of using this method. Unlike organic farmers who use compost and animal manure which are expensive to ship, technology-driven farmers can use synthetic chemical fertilisers and sewage sludge that are cheaper.
  • More job opportunities –Traditional agriculture can be practised by anyone. Other job opportunities include drivers of delivery trucks, labourers, and helpers.
  • Lower costs of produce – The utilisation of natural fertilisers and traditional tools enables the cost of production which overall allows for a lower costing product.

Cons

  • High pest and disease issues.
  • Usually allows for smaller scale production
  • High labour involved
  • Climate change impacts (droughts, flooding, hurricanes) allows for high loss of crops

Technology-driven agriculture reaps many advantages, and it is being highly promoted as we aim to practise sustainable agriculture.

Pros

  • Modern machines can control the efforts of farmers
  • They reduce the time the farmer spends in his production and produces high yields
  • It utilises clean water to the crops
  • Machines are useful in sowing the seeds
  • It enables machines in the transportation
  • Irrigational technology (precision agriculture) to produce highly productive crops
  • Pest control allows for an integrated pest management
  • Better marketing and exposure are done for these crops which makes them suitable for higher ended markets and its facilities in online trading and e-commerce
  • Technology agriculture can choose to improve the fertility of the soil or not depend on soil for the crop production
  • There is a decreased use of water and fertilisers which keeps the prices down
  • It is an environmentally friendly practice

Cons

  • The farmers lack practical knowledge which gives demotivation hence training is needed to handle the machines and equipment properly
  • The cost of maintenance can be high

Technology-driven agriculture is a modern approach to agriculture and uses advanced technology. It is less labour intensive than traditional agriculture, and the yield quantity is larger because there is a focus on maximising production and maintaining a consistent quality and hence it wins my vote.

However, a marry of traditional and technological allows for the best of both worlds.

Send questions to rayannaboodram@hotmail.com.





 

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