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Food insecurity may be solved by drones.

August 2018

This is how a drone may help solve the food problem

Through new technologies such as drones farmers are gradually increasing their production. This is necessary in order to combat food scarcity.

Flying a drone is a nice pastime, but above all, it is a very useful activity for many
farmers. From way up in the air, it is easier to locate spots where plants grow less
quickly due to water shortage, for example. The infrared images that drones collect make
it possible to detect specific pests, while it is also easy to determine when sowing and
harvesting is required on the basis of data. For large areas such as the mega farms in the
United States, it may be advantageous to use drones for spraying cop protectors. In
2017, a third of the farmers in the US were already using these tools.1 In addition, 30 per
cent of the farmers there indicate that they wish to start using drones in the course of
the year.

Food production should increase considerably

Farmers embracing new technologies is a good thing, says Cédric Lecamp. ‘With our
focus on worldwide nutrition Pictet Asset Management invests in the food chain: from seeds in the ground to the meals on our plates. The agricultural sector is facing a major challenge. Demand for food will increase steadily over the next decades. The United Nations predicts that the size of the world population will increase from 7.5 billion people today to 9.7 billion
in 2050.

The demand for food will increase steadily

Pictet Asset Management 2018

In addition, dairy and meat are given a prominent position in the diet of a large
part of the word population.3 The organization takes account of the need to increase
total agricultural output by 50 to 100 per cent in the period up to 2050.3 At the same
time, climate change may result in abundant precipitation and extreme heat. A smarter
use of new technology is the main key to both maintaining and increasing the food

Innovative investment opportunities

The use of technological tools such as drones is only part of this solution. ‘This may also
include the development of new crops that are much more resistant to drought or also
grow in saline soil’, explains Lecamp. ‘For farms, investments in innovative solutions are
recouped quickly if these ensure that food shortages are prevented and that food
remains affordable. Growing demand makes companies that offer these solutions a
potentially promising investment in the field of nutrition. In the short term, the
opportunities in this market segment will be concealed by fluctuations in crop prices,
among other things. But because of the need to steadily increase food production, an
investment in this theme may well pay off in the long term.’