Top 10 Trends

Top 10 trends that are shaping protected cropping

Through our analysis of the drivers shaping the future of protected cropping we identified the following trends:

  1. FOOD SECURITY: World population is expected to reach 8 billion by 2030. Will protected cropping play a more significant role in ensuring a supply of nutritious food?
  2. WATER AVAILABILITY: Agriculture accounts for 70% of fresh water use so agricultural systems will need to adapt rapidly to increasing water scarcity. Will protected cropping offer opportunities for minimizing water use in food production expanding production in water stressed areas?
  3. CLIMATE CHANGE (OR VOLATILE WEATHER CONDITIONS): Climate change is likely to bring more extreme and erratic weather conditions that will threaten agricultural systems and food security. Will the unpredictable weather of the future encourage more food production indoors?
  4. RESOURCE SCARCITY: Demand for energy and energy intensive inputs like fertilizers will continue to grow with population growth and their cost increase. Will the energy intensive protected cropping industry of northern Europe be at the vanguard of alternative energy systems like Anaerobic Digestion and photovoltaic? Or will we see a shift in production closer to the equator?
  5. COMPETITION FOR LAND: Growing population will drive up demand for land from the housing and commercial sectors. Will agriculture move towards intensive protected systems that produce more food per unit of land area?
  6. FOOD SAFETY DEMANDS: The public expectation of safe food will continue and standards required for pesticide usage will not be relaxed. Is the protected cropping industry well positioned to respond to consumer demands through tools like Integrated Pest Management, that are easier to manage than in an open field?
  7. PEST AND DISEASE DISTRIBUTION: Warmer and wetter climates in the northern hemisphere are creating the right conditions for an increased incidence of tropical pests and diseases, particularly in protected cropping situations. Will the protected cropping industry have the right strategies to combat these threats?
  8. LABOUR: High value protected cropping is labour intensive and labour is a key cost. Lower costs of labour have been a major driver in its recent geographical development. Will people still want to work in agriculture? To what extent will future governments allow labour mobility? Will labour cost differentials start to narrow between different economies?
  9. ACCESS TO CAPITAL: Protected cropping requires considerable investment from production to storage and distribution. How accessible will capital be for investment in protected cropping, in innovation and new technologies?
  10. ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY: Government legislation around agriculture in developed markets is increasingly focussed on environmental safety (water directive; sustainable use directive; etc.). Does protected cropping offer a means of avoiding the restrictions imposed by the new regulatory framework and which crops are likely to be affected?