Industry 4.0: in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we’re seeing sectors being transformed by digital technologies. The demand for the digitalization of the agricultural sector is ever growing, too. With the reduced availability of natural resources, such as fresh water and arable land, as well as the rapid urbanization and the expected increase in the global population, digital innovations and technologies have the power to shape a solution to the above mentioned problems. However, in the digitalization of European farming, new technologies are being used to a limited extent; the main reason for this is the lack of awareness, motivation and skills. In this blog post, we’ll attempt to analyze potential benefits and challenges, as well as the role Smart Droplets aims to play in the enhancement of digital skills of key players in the agri-food sector.
What are the potential benefits of digitalization of agriculture?
In the agriculture and the food sector, the spread of mobile technologies, remote-sensing services and distributed computing are improving access to information, inputs, markets, finance and training for smallholders, creating new opportunities for integration in a digitally driven system. With the right kind of exploitation, these can have the following benefits:
Current challenges in the digitalization of agriculture
However, as with everything else, we need to take into account the challenges associated with the shift towards digitalization. These may include:
How does Smart Droplets aim to contribute to this shift?
Smart Droplets Academy
Smart Droplets aims to offer an exclusive training program to strengthen the capacity of non- experts, e.g. farmers, advisors, agricultural equipment manufacturers, on the topics of AI, AI ethics, Data and Agrifood Robotics. Secondarily, the project aims to understand the societal and ethical dimensions of AI adoption in agricultural operations.
The Academy will run each year and will combine in-house training with a custom, online learning course. Specifically, it will be centered around three modules:
In conclusion, the benefits of digitalization may bring revolutionary changes in the agrifood sector but for them to happen, major transformations of farming systems, rural economies, communities and natural resource management are needed. In order to achieve the full potential benefits, a systematic and holistic approach is required. It’s important for policymakers, industry leaders and technology providers to work together to promote the benefits of digitalization and to support farmers with training, resources and incentives to adopt new technologies. With the Smart Droplets academy, we hope to contribute to this shift in a meaningful way.