Genetically modified crops and biotechnology have substantially benefitted farmers in recent decades, however, the next agricultural revolution will be driven by the accelerated application of smart, digital and precision agricultural technologies.

The use of such technologies helps address the information asymmetries and deficiencies facing farmers, particularly smallholders. This can improve agricultural productivity and reduce costs, while mitigating the environmental impact of farming activities.

The latest UN DESA Frontier Technology Issues paper studies a select set of technologies with potential for creating high economic value for smallholder farmers in developing countries.

The benefits offered by smart, digital and precision technologies are significant, but their uptake by smallholder farmers in rural areas of developing countries has generally been limited. To accelerate the adoption of these technologies, UN DESA calls for greater investment in promoting digital literacy in rural areas; a rethinking of the current model of agricultural extension services; a renewed effort to make digital platforms more user-friendly for smallholder farmers; and significant expansion of rural infrastructure to promote agricultural e-commerce.

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