The agriculture industry has radically transformed over the past 50 years. Advances in machinery have expanded the scale, speed, and productivity of farm equipment, leading to more efficient cultivation of more land. Seed, irrigation, and fertilizers also have vastly improved, helping farmers increase yields. Now, agriculture is in the early days of yet another revolution, at the heart of which lie data and connectivity. Artificial intelligence, analytics, connected sensors, and other emerging technologies could further increase yields, improve the efficiency of water and other inputs, and build sustainability and resilience across crop cultivation and animal husbandry.
Without a solid connectivity infrastructure, however, none of this is possible. If connectivity is implemented successfully in agriculture, the industry could tack on $500 billion in additional value to the global gross domestic product by 2030, according to our research. This would amount to a 7 to 9 percent improvement from its expected total and would alleviate much of the present pressure on farmers. It is one of just seven sectors that, fueled by advanced connectivity, will contribute $2 trillion to $3 trillion in additional value to global GDP over the next decade, according to research by the McKinsey Center for Advanced Connectivity and the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) (see sidebar “The future of connectivity”).