The Sustainable Agriculture Transition: How to make the most of transformative technology

This Emerging Issues policy brief focuses on the potential transformative nature of solar photovoltaics and batteries when applied as solar-powered irrigation and is intended to highlight the risks and opportunities associated with these technologies.

By Sophia Murphy, Mali Eber Rose on March 2, 2021
  • It is not just that transformative technologies are new and effective; they also address structural challenges that have defied rural development efforts since industrialization began.

  • The introduction of a low-cost decentralized energy source would bypass the prohibitive costs and infrastructure requirements of connecting remote areas to a regional electricity grid, improving rural communities' access to electricity.

  • Their transformative power rests in their ability to revolutionize food production by raising productivity while improving sustainability.

This "Emerging Issues" policy brief provides a concise overview of the key findings from a recent IISD report. It studies three technologies that could make a significant contribution to the transformation needed in agriculture and food systems, to help tackle the challenges of hunger and food security, natural resource management, and climate change.

The three technological innovations explored in this piece are: i) off-grid renewable energy systems, made affordable with the significant drop in the cost of solar photovoltaics; ii) the rapid and dramatic improvements in battery technology that has exponentially increased batteries’ usefulness as an energy source; and, iii) the evolution of information and communications technology resulting from the expansion of “big data.”

The brief is intended to highlight the transformative potential, risks and opportunities associated with these technologies. Is also provides recommendations for governments, technology firms, producers’ organizations, and financial institutions to support transformative change in agriculture.

Brief details