How can we turn data into decisions in the agri-food industry?

Posted on: 03/07/2017

The production, processing, and distribution of agri-food products has become much more data reliant in recent years.

When you think of the agri-food industry you might not automatically link it to “Big Data”, but in reality, harnessing the power of data has become a key priority in the modern agri-food supply chain.

For example, by collecting and analysing data farmers can optimise inputs such as fertilisers, and adjust crop and land management regimes in response to variations between the fields, crop varieties, and climatic conditions. In food manufacturing major players such as IBM and Mars are using big data to improve food safety, by developing an index of foodborne diseases which will aid understanding of the triggers of contamination and the spread of foodborne diseases. At the product delivery end of the agri-food supply chain suppliers are able to refine their marketing strategies based on purchasing patterns and demographic breakdowns using data from millions of consumers.

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However, there remain a number of challenges in using data in the agri-food sector, and turning this data into effective decisions. There is already a large amount of knowledge and numerous tools have been developed to facilitate the use of data in agriculture, but a disruptive innovation is needed to make better use of these knowledge and tools. The successful integration of data sets to create added value will require common pool investments into data sharing platforms, data standards, and infrastructure.

SCI’s Agrisciences Group and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) are organising an event on 22nd November in London 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.

It is anticipated that this event will be of interest to:

  • agri-food companies
  • machinery and equipment manufacturers
  • companies developing and using sensors
  • organisations with large data sets related to the AgriFood supply chain
  • ICT companies
  • software developers
  • data analytics companies
  • farm and agronomy advisers
  • producer organisations
  • retailers
  • input manufacturers and distributers (seeds, crop protection)
  • academic organisations working on data acquisition, analysis and software development
  • regulators and government departments

You can find out more about this event here.

If you have a specific enquiry about using data in agri-food, please contact KTN’s Dr Liliya Serazetdinova who will be happy to discuss opportunities for innovation in this area.

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