Digitalisation: Smart farming @ IFSA 2018
The digitalisation of international agricultural systems was on the agenda at the IFSA symposium held in Chania, Greece in the first week of July 2018.
We metaphorically referred to this transition as the DAIS (the digitalisation of agricultural innovation systems) in reference to the rapid elevation of digital agriculture/smart farming initiatives globally (and because of the Olympic relevance of the conference location).
Theme 4 examined Smart technologies in farming and food systems. An exciting mix of optimism and caution was evident as delegates worked through individual technologies/tools and their potential for adoption by the farming community. For example, we unpacked student learning from building a robot in 5 months. It turns out the robot itself was irrelevant but the capabilities built by those involved were not!
We then zoomed out to higher level discussions relating to trust, risk, and governance through agricultural advice, knowledge and value chains. The co-creation of a digital advisor was presented – you can just ask Valerie. Along with evidence of the ever-growing influence of social media. We discussed the development of education to train autonomous farmers. Individual and organisational identity alteration in the face of change was found to be critical moving forward. In fact, human-technology relationships are being restructured in a number of ways.
The papers were exploratory in nature highlighting the state of research in this space. I am excited to see what the two years before the next IFSA gathering bring for digital agricultural system maturity.