The global food system faces unprecedented challenges as it strives to provide safe, sustainable, and nutritious food to a rapidly growing population. With an expected increase to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, food producers must adapt to not only accommodate more mouths to feed but also to changing dietary preferences. There are multifaceted challenges facing the global food system so empowering farmers with knowledge gives them the tools to keep updated with the latest technologies and practices.
Challenges to the Global Food System
The OECD sees the challenge as threefold. The first and most glaring challenge is feeding a growing population that’s projected to expand from 7.5 billion to nearly 10 billion by 2050. Meeting this demand while maintaining food safety and quality is a formidable task. Enhanced knowledge and foresight are vital to keep updated and meet these needs.
It is understood that the global agro-food sector is a lifeline for millions of people, particularly in rural areas where agriculture often serves as the primary economic activity. Approximately 570 million farms worldwide, and many more individuals work in food-related jobs. These people need a means of learning and developing their skills and techniques while maintaining production out in the field or on their feet. Being out in the field, or “Deskless” presents its own host of challenges in any case, as we’ve discussed in previous posts.
As we seek to feed more people and produce a broader variety of foods, protecting the environment becomes increasingly crucial. Balancing food production with environmental conservation is a significant challenge; one that needs training.
Challenges directly facing our Farmers
Farmers encounter numerous challenges that impact their ability to meet the demands of the global food system. These challenges include:
Deskless/Offline most of the day – The majority of farmers and agricultural workers work in the field or are not connected to wifi. They still need the ability to connect to vital manuals, information, and reporting.
Climate Change – Farmers must navigate unpredictable weather patterns, droughts, and natural disasters that can devastate crops and reduce yields. It’s important for farmers to have knowledge and data at their fingertips.
Soil Degradation – Overuse of land and soil fertility depletion can diminish crop yields and make farming more challenging. Easily accessible important information can save farmers millions.
Pest and Disease Outbreaks – Farmers face persistent threats from pest and disease outbreaks, which can lead to crop losses or animal deaths. Empowering farmers with knowledge can help avoid this concern.
Market Fluctuations – Agricultural markets can be highly volatile, making it difficult for farmers to plan and turn a profit. With reporting at hand they can keep an eye and make informed decisions.
Competition – With informed decisions based on market data, farmers can stay competitive in domestic and international markets adapting prices accordingly.
Government Policies – Government policies, including tariffs and trade agreements, can significantly impact a farmer’s ability to sell their products. Having all this information at the click of a button ensures compliance and regulatory processes.
Labor Shortages – Finding and retaining a skilled workforce can be challenging for farmers, especially in regions with low unemployment. Keeping skilled workers informed and well-trained is key to their job security and maintaining labor stability.
These challenges are compounded by the evolving expectations placed on farmers. Society now demands not only “enough food” but “good food.” This shift includes reducing environmental impact, enhancing the nutritional content of crops, and minimizing chemical residues. To address these evolving demands, farmers must invest in farm productivity, adopt new technologies, and remain resilient in the face of global economic factors. Simply put, there’s a lot to learn!
The Learning Needs of Farmers
Therfore, to meet these evolving demands, farmers and agricultural workers require continuous learning in all the areas mentioned above, and more!
Agricultural Techniques and Technology: Staying updated on the latest trends and technologies, including sustainable farming methods and climate awareness, keeps them ahead of the competition. This can only be achieved by the ability to be able to check information or knowledge, wherever they are during their work day.
Market Trends and Pricing: Understanding and having the ability to forecast through more differential times, is essential for making informed decisions about crop selection and pricing negotiations.
Pest and Disease Control: Learning effective pest and disease control measures is vital for crop protection and yield maintenance.
Environmental Impact: In order to conserve natural resources and reduce the industry’s overall impact, sustainable practices and environmental management techniques must be implemented. These procedures are constantly updated and revised so a regulatory way to control knowledge is reassuring.
Financial Management & Business Skills: Developing management & business skills, including budgeting, accounting, record-keeping, sales & marketing, or reporting, enable effective management of productive operations.
Regulatory Compliance: Awareness of regulatory compliance and safety standards, including food safety regulations, is essential to ensure product legality and safety. Having an easy-to-scan QR code on machinery and equipment heightens safety awareness and makes information easily obtained.
Empowering Farmers with Knowledge
Continuous learning is pivotal for the success of farmers and agricultural workers, as the industry constantly evolves and new challenges arise regularly. To meet these learning needs, platforms like Enabley are crucial for delivering timely, relevant, and accessible knowledge to those working in the field, especially in agriculture.
Enabley’s mobile-first learning platform, specifically designed with deskless workers in mind, revolutionizes knowledge management, learning, and innovation. It caters to various stakeholders along the food supply chain, from farmers and distributors to retail and grocery stores, food manufacturers, and co-ops.
Key Connected Features of Enabley
A mobile-first learning platform, accessible from anywhere, anytime, and on any device, is crucial for farmers and agricultural workers.
QR code integration for on-demand training manuals, information, and reporting – Place QR codes on machinery or personnel to monitor compliance and ensure everyone has the information exactly where they need it.
Available in over 25 different languages to accommodate agricultural team members from all over the world.
A variety of learning options, including microlearning, eLearning, live streaming, and more, makes learning interactive and enjoyable even for those less tech-savvy,
Offline capability – No reliance on email or the internet. Commonly, farmers are out in the fields or in remote areas but still need to keep informed.
An intuitive content authoring tool for easy knowledge sharing.
Automated certifications and assessments for safety and compliance.
Microlearning content covering various agricultural topics and business management skills.
Case Studies and Clients
One client of Enabley, a global leader in dairy farm technology, exemplifies the effectiveness of Enabley. Their network of distributors and dealers is trained on the platform to stay updated on technological developments and certifications, enabling them to serve farmers better, worldwide. Farmers themselves also benefit from Enabley’s training resources, which include videos, tutorials, and quizzes for using certain products and supplies. Additionally, internal employees across various departments use Enabley for onboarding and training, ensuring that the entire organization remains informed and skilled.
While the global food system faces a host of challenges as it strives to meet the demands of a growing population, continuous learning at the fingertips of anyone who needs it is the linchpin to overcoming these challenges. Platforms like Enabley play a vital role in empowering farmers and agricultural workers with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this productive, growing industry, ultimately helping to secure the world’s food supply.