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May be another green revolution

The agriculture sector is facing a lot of problems like climate change, urbanization, reduction of
 
agricultural lands, rapidly increasing population etc. Moreover the excessive use of fertilizers, pesticides
 
and insecticides are polluting our environment. The demand of food would drastically increase as for the
 
population of 6-9 billion in 2050.Our energy resources like petroleum, gas, and diesel oil are also
 
decreasing rapidly day by day. Although agriculture has been contributing in the production of energy
 
like electricity from the plant residues yet it is not enough on commercial scale.
 
As agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan, we can go even to the extent of saying that the world cannot
 
exist in the absence of agriculture. The problems faced by agriculture should be resolved in a
 
sophisticated way on revolutionary levels to increase the production, to decrease the environmental
 
hazards, and to ensure the availability food for a long time. Today, there is a dire need of food security
 
and to reduce the environmental problems which are affecting our climate and ultimately to our
 
agriculture.
 
In 1960s, farm mechanization and high input responsive gene crops brought the Green Revolution. But
 
today, technology is more advanced than earlier it has been. If we use this technology more efficiently,
 
there will be another green revolution. Here I will introduce some recent technologies which are being
 
used or tested for their use in agriculture to increase more input responsive crops, to decrease the
 
environmental hazards, to extend the shelf life of the processed food for food security. Nanotechnology,
 
sensors, artificial plant and animal production techniques, automation, and engineering are some of the
 
recent innovations of science which are being successfully used in agriculture sector.
 
Nanotechnology is very recent and advanced technology which uses nanomaterial, size ranging from 1-
 
100nm, for the welfare of human beings. Most of the developed countries like china and USA are
 
working on their applications in the agricultural fields. But the success of nanotechnology will depend
 
upon its feasibility, availability, profit margin, environmental benefits, and risk assessment. Here I will
 
discuss some of its applications which have been developed or are under the process of research work and
 
will be introduced in next few years in agricultural fields and for the food security purpose.
 
Nano scale carriers are used for the efficient delivery of fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, and growth
 
regulators by different mechanisms like encapsulation, entrapment, surface ionic, clay tubes and weak
 
bond attachments for the efficient storage and controlled release of active material. They help in proper
 
uptake, reduce input of insecticides and pesticides to about 70-80%, and minimum wastage of active
 
material. Micro fabricated xylem vessels are being used for the proper identification of diseases, caused
 
by different pathogens in xylem vessels, and their mechanism of blockage of vessels and their overall
 
effects on the plants.
 
Photo catalysts, a catalyst which when exposed to UV light, its electrons gets excited, making it powerful
 
oxidizing agent for heavy metal oxides and the most efficient disinfectants and very helpful in the
 
degradation of metals. These catalysts are used for the treatment of elements present in pesticides which
 
cannot be degraded for years in normal conditions. Some Nano particles of this type are also used in the
 
disinfection of food in the food industries and for the water treatment. The emitted light from the
 
nanoparticles pass through the bacteria and kill them and food becomes free from bacteria. Smart dust
 
technology can be used for monitoring the different parameters of environment like temperature humidity
 
and also insect and disease infestation in the fields.
 
Most of the agricultural products (vegetable, fruits, eggs, meat, dairy products, and various processed
 
foods) are perishable. Research and development in Nano technology can be helpful in the food storage
 
and disinfection for a long time.
 
Wireless sensors are developed for the monitoring soil, nutrients, temperature, humidity and all those
 
factors which are essential for the maximum output. Applications of these sensors have been classified
 
into three different spheres of agricultural factors which are environmental monitoring, precision
 
agriculture, and traceability systems (Radio Frequency Identification Device, RFID). Environmental
 
monitors are used to measure the environmental variability like weather data and water quality in the
 
fields. In precision agriculture, sensors monitor and collect the date of soil nutrients, soil compactness,
 
soil fertility, leaf temperature etc. Traceability systems use the RFID which ensures the safety of food
 
from fields to the point of sale by tracking system. There are also some optical sensors or drones in the
 
form of flies which can collect all type of data from the field.
 
Scientists are working on the production of genetically designed food. Genetic engineering can be used
 
for plants, animals, and micro-organisms. Scientists have produced animals and plants by this technique
 
like dogs of different varieties from Poodles to Great Danes, and roses of long lasting scent containing
 
flower. This technique is also used for the development of crop varieties by manipulating the genes of
 
crops
 
In automation technique, agricultural robots are used to make the automatic process of agricultural
 
practices like sowing, weeding, soil nutrients maintenance, ploughing, fruit picking, and harvesting crops.
 
These robots can be connected with the monitoring sensors to collect the data from the field and to
 
cultivate fields precisely.
 
Engineering helps us to develop the closed ecological systems in which nothing will enter in that system
 
and system converts the waste products into oxygen, food and water for the inhabiting organisms in the
 
system.
 
Due to urbanization, cultivated land is reducing rapidly. To
 
compensate this loss, science has introduced the idea of vertical
 
farming. In this farming system, vertical farms are developed in
 
which agricultural commodities are grown. It has numerous
 
advantages like year round crop production, reduce transport cost, and
 
protection from bad weather.
 
If these technologies are used efficiently, there would be another green revolution exactly in the
 
agriculture sector. These are the most precious gift for our future nation. But we must be careful about the
 
harmful effects of these technologies on our society and human beings. To make them secure and
 
harmless for the society, we should train and teach the people to make them fully understand about these
 
technologies. Our most of the land holders are illiterate and cannot understand mechanization easily. To
 
make the rapid adoption of these technologies, seminars should be held and knowledge should be
 
disseminated about these technologies related to their benefits, cost efficiency, usefulness, and the
 
methods for using them.

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