In recent decades the global agricultural landscape has been significantly affected by the escalating challenges posed by climate change. To meet the needs of a growing global population and ensure sustainability, it will be important for the agriculture sector – a pillar of food production and livelihoods – to become more productive and sustainable through increased investment and the adoption of advanced technologies.

Technological advancements are a key tool in overcoming barriers and driving progress in Libya’s agriculture sector. With less than 2% arable land in a predominantly desert country, farmers grapple with water scarcity and the adverse effects of droughts on rain-fed agriculture. Extreme weather events like sandstorms, dust storms and rising temperatures further hinder adaptation efforts. Progress towards addressing these challenges has been slowed by years of conflict, diverting resources from climate risk mitigation to deal with short- and long-term effects of the protracted unrest. With limited renewable water resources, drought and poor soil quality, Libya relies on food imports to meet roughly 75% of its domestic requirements. The impact of these circumstances can be seen in price increases in local markets.

In order to increase production in the face of declining levels of rainfall, Misrata’s agriculture sector has embraced innovation and technology as catalysts for progress. Local farmers and entrepreneurs are adopting advanced farming techniques and technologies to optimise productivity and navigate water scarcity. Innovation has become a driving force behind the region’s agricultural success story, from improving irrigation and fertilisation methods, to exploring hydroponics and utilising drone-based monitoring systems.

Precision agriculture utilises real-time weather forecasting, while controlled-environment agriculture – as has been rolled out in Qatar in recent years – optimises growing conditions in smart greenhouses. Imaging and drone technology can aid in early disease detection and precise application of resources, while advances in biotech are helping to enhance crop resilience. However, the success of these technologies ultimately depends on their adoption by smallholder farmers, who can face barriers due to cost, education and the availability of internet infrastructure. Encouraging Libya’s youth to pursue careers in agriculture would help imbue the local agricultural ecosystem with innovation and fresh ideas. To that end, initiatives like the Smart Agriculture Competition promote innovation and encourage young individuals to devise agriculture technology solutions.

Technology is proving to be instrumental in addressing some of the challenges Misrata’s agriculture sector faces. From combatting water scarcity to improving productivity and adapting to changing environmental conditions, innovative solutions are key to the further development of the industry. While access to markets remains a priority, policy efforts are also likely to focus on ensuring security, addressing financial constraints, managing fuel costs, limiting price fluctuations and promoting exchange rate instability. By leveraging new technologies and embracing sustainable practices, Misrata’s agriculture sector can navigate these challenges and foster resilience, contributing to food security and economic development.