Big data, transparency and training Farming enters the digital era
The "Digital Agriculture 2022: evolution and opportunity" webinar, organized by Fieragricola and Image Line in anticipation of Veronafiere's international show (26-29 January), clearly explained the strategic use of data collection in the field and the importance of creating a sharing system to benefit the entire supply chain.
Verona, 21st June 2021 – Agriculture 4.0 is one of the cornerstones on which farming of the future is being built and continues to grow. How? The question was discussed during the online webinar, organized by Fieragricola Verona and Image Line, which evaluated the present and future digital opportunities that, as Sara Quotti Tubi, Event Manager for Fieragricola, underlined, will be amply dealt with at the next edition of the international agriculture show to be held at Veronafiere from 26th to 29th January 2022.
Big data, interoperability, training and transparency are the fundamental drivers of digital agriculture. This is what emerged from the words of the speakers who made an in-depth assessment of the topic starting from one of the increasingly more frequent questions: who do the data belong to? “The data collected in the field belong to the farmer,” said Massimiliano Giansanti, Vice President of CopaCogeca. “But, in order for them to express all their potential, they must be shared.”
The use of digital tools must become more and more widespread in order to create a shared network, but what is happening in Italy? “According to the Desi 2020 report,” stated Gianluca Brunori, professor of Agricultural Economics at Pisa University and President of the Advisory Committee on digitization in farming at Georgofili Academy, “in terms of digitization, our country is one of the furthest behind. Digitization can make sustainable development easier but it is important that all farming companies, even the smallest, can have access.”
Sector operators are becoming increasingly aware of the opportunities that using digital can provide, as outlined by Maria Pavesi, researcher at Milan Polytechnic and Brescia University’s Smart AgriFood Observatory, and that is why the market is continuing to grow, reaching a value of 540 million euros in 2020, despite the pandemic. A growth destined to increase particularly due to a more widespread use of tools like: company management systems, interconnected machinery, monitoring systems and equipment checking. Analysing enabling technologies, reading systems, data and big data represent 73% of agriculture 4.0’s fundamental driver.
Big data are a strategic wealth for the market but, as Ivano Valmori, CEO of Image Line, pointed out “it is important to create an agro-innovation ecosystem so that the various players along the supply chain can collaborate, interact, exchange data and information and, therefore, all be part of a cooperating system, founded on a few fundamental principles: inform and compare, manage and share, study and learn. Because data is the oil of the 21st century, however, to be able to seize the potential, it’s important to know how to analyse and use them.”
The importance of sharing was also highlighted by Antonio Samaritani, CEO of Abaco Group, who also underlined the importance of feeding the value chain with the concept of transparency. Presenting a platform that integrates all the software components needed to ensure that a common agricultural policy is correctly activated, Samaritani demonstrated the possible synergies between public and private in order to develop smart farming.
At the same time as disseminating new technologies and digitization as tools for boosting agriculture’s added value, it is also imperative to guarantee every operator with the necessary training, especially small entrepreneurs. Giuseppe Perrone, EY Blockchain EMEIA Leader, not only pointed out “the need to support companies in their digital transition in order to sustain growth”, but also how digital technologies that support agriculture 4.0 can now “meet the needs of new generations of consumers who pay greater attention to healthy food and are attracted to sustainability themes when they decide which companies to follow and which products to buy. In fact, 79% of consumers wants information on a product’s entire production process, from origin to sale, something which can only be given by a correct, reliable and transparent use of digital agriculture.”