AI's Effectiveness in Agriculture Spurring Rapid Growth

The global popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for agriculture is likely to drive rapid growth in this sector over the next five years, according to a new report, with this relatively nascent market segment reaching $29 million by 2025.

The report from industry watchers at Million Insights, projects a growth rate of CAGR of 25.4% over the forecast period, thanks to a new generation of AI-enabled applications designed to improve farming productivity and crop yield with predictive analysis, soil monitoring, and pest control.

"According to the United Nations, the global population is projected to reach 9.8 billion by the end of 2050," the report reads. "The agriculture industry is one of the largest industries and is projected to support the growth of AI-based systems in agribusinesses. The growing need for improved food production and the green revolution is expected to propel the demand for big data, IoT, and artificial intelligence solutions."

Artificial intelligence is also necessary to run a new generation of agricultural robots and drones. Agribusinesses use AI-enabled sensors to monitor soil and crop productivity and to process analytical data for better farming. These solutions are so effective, that demand is on the rise, which has not escaped the notice of mainstream AI developers. In 2017, for example, Microsoft collaborated with the International Crop Research Institute to develop an AI-based "sowing app." This application provides recommendations about which seeds to be sowed based on historical data and/or weather trend.

The grand prize at the annual Call for Code competition, announced last week, went to an agricultural app called Agrolly, that uses IBM Cloud Object StorageIBM Watson StudioIBM Watson Assistant, and The Weather Company technologies to provides small farmers with sophisticated data analysis to manage crop planning, improve their decision making, and increase production.

The report's authors expect the Asia Pacific AI in Ag market to expand at a significant rate from 2019 to 2025, because of the growing popularity of AI-enabled devices in agribusiness in the region. In countries such as China and India, the markets for systems and solutions relying on computer vision and machine learning have been growing for the past few years. Those technologies are expected to boost the crop yield capacity in the agriculture sector in those countries significantly. Add to the positive results supportive government regulations that encourage farmers to seek for these new technologies, and growth in that market is almost inevitable. In 2019, for example, the Indian government started using AI solutions for estimating crop yield and increasing farming productivity, with reportedly great results.

The report's authors identified key manufacturers in the AI in Ag market. They include Microsoft; IBM; Deere and Company; Granular, Inc.; AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc.; GAMAYA; Descartes Labs, Inc.; The Climate Corporation; Prospera Technologies; aWhere Inc.; Taranis; and PrecisionHawk.

The Million Insights analysts sliced and diced the market segment in several ways in the report, but the application categories they settled on really underscore the potential of AI in Ag. They include Precision Farming, Drone Analytics, Agriculture Robots, and Livestock Monitoring.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at