A Way Out of the Food Crises; Innovative Technological Solutions to Provide Global Food Security
By 2050 the planet will need to provide food for over 10 billion people. Designed to target all aspects of food security, our smart and sustainable agricultural growing processes are set to change the way we feed the world.
The current food system – what's wrong with it?
In simple terms, the larger the global population, the greater the demand to feed everyone. As the global population hits 8 billion people, today’s food supply chain - from production and transportation to storage, retail consumption and even loss and waste of food - is struggling under the weight of this responsibility.
Globally we are in a hunger obesity paradox. Huge portions of the population are starving while others overindulge or waste food. Around 830 million people are currently unnourished, and over 14 million children suffer from severe malnutrition, according to the world’s hunger specialist, Action Against Hunger. Simultaneously another 2 billion people are overweight or obese, according to Statista.
Problems to the current food system have been piling up for decades. Climate change, lack of investment, disruption to the supply networks, and geopolitical tensions have all added to its list of woes. David Meszaros, CEO of SMARTKAS, is ready to take the required steps to make a change.
“SMARTKAS is on a mission to create a positive and sustainable impact on humanity and create a world without hunger while also respecting the planet. As a global community, we must work consistently every single day towards a better, brighter future, regardless of what is happening in the world.”
It is important to note that food security is not simply having access to food. Nor is it a problem limited to countries with underdeveloped agriculture industries. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines “Food Security” as “when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.
This can be broken down into four main pillars - availability, access, utilization and stability - all of which will remain under threat unless there is genuine disruption to the agriculture industry. Food availability requires sufficient quantities of food of appropriate quality. Although increasing demand for food means better efficiencies in traditional field farming, crop yields are predicted to decline across the world.
Access to food is being harmed by disruptions to the global food supply chain, storage, and transportation, which has already led to food shortages. This in turn has pushed food prices to record new highs, making food even less accessible.
Utilizing food requires not only an adequate diet but also that non-food inputs such as clean water, proper sanitation, and health care are achieved to reach a state of nutritional well-being. This is not only an issue for developing nations. A sufficient diet means clean food production, free from harmful chemicals. In Europe, particular residues of pesticides in fruits and vegetables are already causing issues to human health. Many people also lack the resources to obtain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. For instance, according to the European Commission, 70 percent of food waste in Europe comes from households who are unsure about how best to store, pack and keep their food once purchased.
Disruptions to availability and access to food are direct threats to food stability. Sudden shocks such as geopolitical events can unsettle the food system. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine, for example, has threatened global wheat supplies, causing hunger globally. Conflict also spreads in areas where vital resources like food are scarce, hence conflict is also a consequence of hunger. Meanwhile increased temperatures and shifts in rainfall patterns due to climate change demonstrate that traditional models of agriculture are no longer viable.
SMARTKAS was established in 2020 to target all four pillars of food security. We create sustainable, clean, and green agricultural processes that rely on renewable sources for energy and water, while simultaneously producing food smartly and efficiently without genetic modification or the use of pesticides.
Our farms function in a fully enclosed environment that ensures stable and consistent yield in high volumes. We use AI, robotics and cloud computing solutions to grow our plants. Thanks to this, we are also able to fully control and predict the environment that the fruits and vegetables grow in. We do not depend on the outside environment, nor do we harm it with waste or chemicals.
“We are committed to ending global hunger with innovative, tailored solutions - and not just providing some high-tech equipment to the highest bidder. We possess the entire journey, from farm to fork. From envisioning the project to building, owning and operating the smart farms,’’ continues David.
It is our goal to be present in every single country, and focus on the exact needs of the desired region. As a B2G (Business to Government) enterprise, we carefully tailor our smart farming solutions according to local requirements. Once we have identified a location for a farm, we perform economic and feasibility studies as well as a geopolitical analysis. All factors are taken into consideration and assessed, resulting in an overall score, which provides us with a clear understanding of the country’s technology sophistication level.
In countries with a high level of sophistication, we develop fully automated indoor vertical farms such as those we operate in the Netherlands and United Kingdom. In those countries with lower levels of technological advancement we develop manually run optimized greenhouses such as our green house project in Brazil, which will create jobs, and protect the rainforest with a drone surveillance program.
“The type of work that [SMARTKAS] carries out is fundamental for proving the sustainability of agricultural production. Brazil has sustainable production, but we have the challenge of showing and proving it. This type of project demonstrates the improvement of productivity in a sustainable way,” notes Paulo Alvim, Secretary of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communication in Brazil.
Though our farms differ from country to country, the common thread is our use of technology. It is not only our goal to feed the world, it is also our secondary goal to become a world leader in plant data. The AI used in all of our farms enables us to collect large amounts of data on plants and their growth needs. Our AI models can share their knowledge with other SMARTKAS units and their growers, no matter where they are in the world.
“SMARTKAS is a technology company that focuses on the food industry, and not a food company that uses technology. AI-led growing systems have the benefit to learn and adapt to their surroundings, and eventually provide the ideal growth recipes for any given plant, ” David explains.
Our ultimate goal is to equip local communities (particularly those in rural areas and developing nations) with fully operational farms so they can take care of the crops and farm on their own. Communities will, ultimately, have the choice to either sell their produce or consume it.
Globally, we are passing a point of ignorance, where remaining the status quote is simply no longer enough. The growing population and climate change are just a few of the worries rising on the horizon requiring urgent intervention. Supporting local farmers, distributors, retailers, and consumers in creating strong and reliant food systems is what we at SMARTKAS are set to do.
A profound improvement in the food sector requires close attention to the pillars of food security. People across the globe need to have access to stable, sufficient amounts of nutritious food. Communities in both densely populated as well as rural areas deserve to have the ingredients to live a healthy and active life - food security needs to be provided as a long-lasting, tailored service, in every single country in the world.
SMARTKAS is destined to feed the world with innovative technological solutions. To achieve this, we partner up with local governments to understand the needs of each region we strive to operate in. Following the building of a smart farm, we continue to collaborate with local partners, including the local growers, who are equipped with first-hand information crafted by our AI-assisted growing systems. Eventually, local communities can take charge and utilize our farms the way they see fit. This is how we envision ending world hunger.