Agriculture & Design

Agriculture & Design

The environmental emergency, combined with the need to implement agricultural production to feed a growing population (estimated at 10 million people by 2050) has led to the improvement of agricultural practices.

Over the last 50 years, the sector has been radically transformed with mainly mechanical advances. Today, there is a considerable push towards more ethical and sustainable solutions. Organic production will become 10% of the total in 2030. Additionally, natural conservation systems and the use of seasonal and zero-kilometer foods are also growing.

Attention to animal welfare goes hand in hand with research to replace their proteins. One example is the protein-rich Mankai aquatic vegetable. In the EU, there is a trend towards reducing consumption of meat per capita and the simultaneous increase in foods rich in proteins as alternatives to meat.

Artificial Intelligence

We are at the beginning of another revolution, that of artificial intelligence, in which the combination of agriculture and tech is winning.  From experimentation with driverless tractors to vertical farms, from hydroponic power stations to the use of drones and robots, new technologies are aimed at finding alternative ways to limit perishability, seasonality, variability of quality and quantity, better requirements for transport, and reduction of related risks. 

In fact, in 2021, the registration of high-tech tractors in Italy grew by 36% (compared to 2020), reaching 24,400 units thanks to EU incentives for Agriculture 4.0.

The lack of specific infrastructures hampers increasingly sophisticated digital tools. In less developed regions, almost all agricultural work is manual. However, forecasts for 2030 are for coverage of around 80% of rural areas.

The role of design is strategic to imagine, thanks to these scenarios, new products, and services.

The Return of Italian Youth to Agriculture

Finally, social aspects have been linked to the return of Italian youth to agriculture (+4% compared to the loss of 20% in Europe). The results are tangible: young farmers generate, on average, a standard production per hectare of €4.964, compared to the European average of €3.178/ha.

Another trend of considerable interest is that of urban gardens and domestic gardens.

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