Companies and Breakthroughs Most Likely to Help the World Produce More Food with Less says cleantech innovations can help large-scale agriculture increase efficiencies, reduce waste and address concerns about toxicity, safety and the environment.
Increasing population, climate change, rising fossil fuel prices, ecosystem degradation and water and land scarcity are making today’s food production methods increasingly unsustainable and driving innovation in agricultural technology, according to the study.
While other cleantech sectors such as renewable energy and transportation receive more attention, says Kachan analyst Shannon Payne, primary author of the report, cleantech advances in agriculture potentially have more importance, especially in the case of crisis events around food availability.
Sectors examined in the report span crop farming (including natural fertilizers and amendments, biological control of weeds, pest and disease, precision irrigation and fertilization, land management, biotechnology, tools and equipment, waste innovations and transport decay prevention), controlled environment agriculture (including hydroponics, aeroponics, vertical farming and improved greenhouses), sustainable forestry, animal farming waste innovations and aquaculture (including health and yield, containment and waste innovations).
The report says aquaculture is the fastest growing sector of the category, growing at 8 to 10 percent per year.
Agricultural cleantech companies profiled in the report include: 312 Aquaponics, AeroFarms, AgLocal, Agradis, AgraQuest, Agrinos, Airstream Innovations, Alterrus Systems, AquaSeed, AquaSpy, ArborGen, ATD Manure Management Systems, Becker Underwood, BioDiscovery, Blue River Technology, Bright Farms, Chromatin, Cibus, Divergence, DripTech, Eden Research, EOSi, Exosect, Goemar, Grasslands, ImageTree, Jiangxi Tianren Ecology, Landec, Livestock Water Recycling, Lufa Farms, Marrone Bio Innovations, Martin Industries, Montana Microbial Products, Nobel Environmental Technologies, NovaGreen, NuAgri, Open Ocean Systems, OVRsol, Performance Plants, Plant Health Care, Portable Farms, Precision Planting, Purfresh, PureSense, ScoutPro, SemiosBIO, Solum, Targeted Growth, Trimble, Triton Logging, Trophomax, TruLeaf, TyraTech and Vestaron.
In his Predictions for Cleachtech 2012, Kachan managing partner Dallas Kachan forecast increased venture investment in sustainable agriculture, and said that sharply rising food prices in 2006 and 2007, due to rising oil prices, were an example of why this sector would likely see cleantech advances.
In July this year, the worst US drought in 50 years, which has caused more damage than expected to corn and soybean crops, helped push the global food price index up six percent, according to a report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.