Agriculture is what our society was built on and it is also the mainstay of several economies around the world. Man first started farming around 12000 years ago, approximately around 10,000 BC when the first city-states took shape. Since then, agriculture and more specifically agricultural technology have evolved to become what it is today, a journey that started over 12 millennia ago. From the time that agriculture took root, so as to speak, it managed to change our very perception and the way we lived and went on to shape our culture, our lifestyle and even our history itself.
This particular field has seen various innovations over its long history when it came to agricultural technologies, from tilling to crop rotation to plough and usage of modern appliances in agriculture – it has seen the lot. But agricultural technologies do not come without their own drawbacks, such as the overutilization of pesticides and fertilizers. This is why it is important that we take a closer look at the positive and negative impact of agricultural technology as a whole
The positive impact of agricultural technology:
- Crop rotation: The first city-states established their cities close to the riverbanks and realized early on that certain crops grow only at certain times of the year. And while crop rotation was practiced to a certain extent during the initial stages of agriculture, it was not until the advent of modern technologies that we were able to take full advantage of the same. With modern farming implements such as the tractor which also functions as a modern plough, it now became possible to plant the same field with various crops at different times of the year, thereby increasing productivity.
- Yield increase: While earlier on, farmers had to make do with blight and other natural disasters which often wiped out their whole crops, with the advent of agricultural technology and advances in both pesticides and fertilizers, farmers are better able to protect their crops. As a result of this, they are able to increase their yield per acre.
- Cost: as a result of increased yield, farmers are able to grow various kinds of crops and are able to pass on the benefits to their consumers, resulting in fair and equitable rates. Early on, due to slower transportation methods, transforming vegetables and food crops over long distances was not viable. However, thanks to modern transportation methods, farmers can now export their products all over the world.
The negative impact of agricultural technology:
- Health impact: various studies have clearly established the fact that overutilization of both fertilizers and pesticides can impact one’s health. The one downside to over usage of pesticides is that it can kill soil organisms which are beneficial to the plant and helps it to grow. Apart from this, it can render the topsoil toxic. Preventing anything else from growing for a while. Both pesticides and fertilizers are also known to impact human health; even a mild skin exposure to some can cause you to experience extreme distress. So you can imagine what will happen should you consume a food item coated with the same?
- Environmental impact: As some of the modern agricultural implements have now made it possible for farmers to plant seeds, plough the fields and even reap the crop within a short time frame, most farmers have now opted to clear some of the local forests so that they can expand their fields. The rampant deforestation has already taken a toll on our world with global warming at a new high. As more ecosystems get destroyed, it is affecting the balance in nature, and since all the trees have been cleared, there has been a sharp drop in rainfall.
- High maintenance: As with every farmed land out there, your land required high maintenance. You need to regularly check up on the same so that you can improve the productivity of the field concerned.
These are some of the positive and negative impacts of agricultural technologies; it should be pointed that the current methods are an improvement on the old methods. But we should take care to ensure that some of the negative effects are minimized.