Unlocking the power of digital agriculture

Digital agriculture encompasses a value chain framework that supports smallholder farmers’ access to services, knowledge and markets. This helps to unlock the economic potential of agriculture, preserve natural resources and accelerate equitable economic growth in rural communities. Digital agriculture is already the nerve centre for modern food systems. It enables democratisation of information and distillation of big data analytics to provide timely and targeted insight for farmers, input suppliers, aggregators, processors and consumers. These insights are now delivered to the location of a decision (e.g. a farmer’s field on a smart phone) on how to optimise profitability, increase value chain efficiency and support consumer awareness on food and its impact on their nutrition, the rural economy and the environmental footprint of agriculture. Digital tools have the potential to compress value chains and reduce transaction costs, thus moving more value to the farmers’ end for improving incomes and livelihoods. Through ‘big data’ and systems biology, the nutritional quality of crops can be improved by gaining a deeper understanding of the interaction of food, nutrition and human health. Spatial Data Infrastructure combined with unique digital identification can support an ecosystem of integrated services to better serve the needs of farmers – whether it be access to inputs, credit, insurance or markets. Downscaled observed weather data are critically important to support all actors along the value chain, given that agriculture is a solar- and water- driven industry. Maintaining the trust of farmers and consumers is vitally important, so policies to manage personal identification information are essential. However, data also needs to be granular to support precision agriculture practices. An ecosystem of different tools and platforms supported by pragmatic and visionary policies and institutions will position countries to uniquely unlock the power of digital technology to accelerate agricultural development and ultimately enable us to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals – one country at a time.

Issue Date:
Aug 08 2017
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
Record Identifier:
Total Pages:

 Record created 2018-01-17, last modified 2018-01-22

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