Traceability provides the opportunity to improve our understanding of food provenance, safety and sustainability. Large scale social challenges, related to food and agriculture, can now be measured, isolated and addressed thanks to the potential of modern traceability solutions. Despite the advancements in technology and new emerging consumer demands, there are several risks and challenges to mass adoption.
This workshop is especially designed for farmers, cooperatives, government representatives, academics, industry leaders and agtech companies.
Challenge Advisory has sourced over 40 expert speakers, who will gather to debate the key issues facing the ag industry today, including modern farming practices and challenges.
Taking place in California, the main agricultural state of the US, AG 4.0 is designed around 8 core topic streams and will also be featuring 6 networking breaks, as well as 20 workshops and numerous keynote addresses undertaken by Forbes influential industry leaders.
Put together via extensive research on the main challenges U.S. agriculture and its farmers are facing today, the event will provide a platform for farmers to inform agtech companies on what they think is needed for the industry. Finally, don’t forget to check out our conference for digital twin 2019 and get more information on our official page.
Agriculture faces fundamental challenges which will govern the future of our planet. Food production systems are responsible for 25% of global green house gas emissions, 70% of fresh water use and 60-70% of biodiversity loss. Food and agriculture remain the largest employer in the world. However, climate change threatens the livelihood of all employed with estimates of up to 25% reduction in crop yields as a result of climate change. 800 million people globally are either chronically malnourished or overweight, while population growth is expected to grow to 10bn by 2050.
A transformative approach to partnerships and investments, rooted in innovation ecosystems is needed. This level of collaboration will enable new business models, investments, policy frameworks, adoption and technical capacity building. Historically, collaboration in agriculture is more common than in other industries.
Participating in the ecosystem for agriculture stakeholders must create intrinsic value for all participants but can also create value for those external to the ecosystem. This will stimulate further creativity and inspire investments. Successful stakeholder collaborations will reduce interdependency risk and adoption risk. Ecosystems must include diverse stakeholders including small holder farmers/processors through to large agribusiness, retailers and restaurant chains.
Investments in agtech has been growing steadily for the last 8 years. However, they lack significantly behind other areas. In 2017, total venture capital investments in healthcare were almost 4x as much as agriculture. 75% of the total investments went to developed countries, despite only producing 25% of total ag production. Successful ecosystems will help address this imbalance and inspire investors to take advantage of the value creating opportunities arising in food ecosystems.
Social returns on public sector r&d investments in developed economies yield between 25-30% ROI on average. This does not include private government returns. Considering the positive externalities and impact on sustainability, governments should help facilitate traceability r&d expenditure.
Traceability measures will require a small-scale stakeholder to invest in new technologies. The necessary upfront capital expenditure will be unaffordable for most small-scale stakeholders, creating friction in the adoption process. Governments, civil society, industry or other value chain players should consider financial support for these upfront costs. In most cases, retailers and processors will act as leaders in pushing for traceability adoption from their suppliers. Financial incentives must ease adoption.
Transformational innovation and disruption across major industries have less to do with individuals and specific technological breakthroughs and everything to do with complex systems, partnerships and supply chains aligning together. The government can act as an orchestrator which provides the glue that gives the ecosystem its infrastructure and holds it in place. Stakeholders must see intrinsic value in participation and governments should build policy to incentivise them to do so.
Adoption of traceability has the potential to create superior value for all stakeholders including consumers while addressing large scale social challenges. The liability risk has prevented mass adoption by the largest retailers and food processors. Emerging technologies like traceability will require sensitive data sharing which may place stakeholders at risk. Regulators must be sympathetic in the early stages of food traceability’s development.