Digitalisation in the Agri-Food sector has the potential to drive innovation across the entire food supply chain.

Just over a year ago, KTN and the Society of Chemical Industry Agrisciences Group hosted an event to focus on key needs of the agri-food sector in using data, discuss the existing barriers, and present a number of potential solutions and joint initiatives.

The outcomes of this event have now been published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

The paper outlines some key take-home messages from the meeting and gives examples of how agri-food data has been used to improve efficiency in livestock production, support automation and use of robotics in crop production, and increasing food safety and evidence of its provenance. It also discusses challenges in digitalisation of the agri-food supply chain, such as low inter-operability of different data sets, and presents possible solutions to unlock the vast potential in this area.

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KTN’s Dr Liliya Serazetdinova, Knowledge Transfer Manager Agri-Food and co-author of the paper, said:

“The theme of digitalisation in Agri-Food sector is increasingly in the news, and is being discussed at many levels by industry, from boards meetings to operational groups. This is because it connects so many drivers for change as well as opportunities – the need to grow productivity, to be more resource efficient, to embrace new technologies, and to find a way to address labour shortages, to provide traceability and demonstrate value, and to understand consumer behaviour, to name a few.

“This work brings together experts across different sectors including AgriFood, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Digital Marketing, ICT and Industrial Mathematics, as reflected in a number of colleagues involved and contributing towards this event and the follow on discussions that led to this publication. It brought together different communities of businesses, academics, policy makers, and regulators to review what digitalisation means to their work, and what needs to happen to embrace it.”

Phil Williams, Interim Head of Complex Systems at Knowledge Transfer Network said:

‚ÄúWith global markets for agricultural robots and drone technologies forecast to grow from $3 billion in 2016 to $10 billion as early as 2022, now is the time for the UK to take Robotics and AI based agri-tech seriously. Not only are the market opportunities significant, but the benefits across the entire agri-food supply chain are perhaps even more important, with the promise of greater productivity, increased resilience and superior quality of produce being the prize. KTN‚Äôs RAI SIG is committed to continue its work with the Agri-food team to build community, build capability and reduce barriers to adoption.”

You can access the paper “How should we turn data into decisions in AgriFood?” by L. Serazetdinova, J. Garratt, A. Baylis, S. Stergiadis, M. Collison, and S. Davis by clicking here.

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