Over 300 Smart AgriFood solutions in Italy: digital technologies guarantee more product quality and more efficiency in the supply chain. This is what emerges from the first sector survey of the Smart AgriFood Observatory (promoted by the Politecnico Milano and the University of Brescia).

Sensors in the fields and on tractors, drones, logistics and process innovation, smart packaging and smart labels: these are just some of the Smart AgriFood applications already widespread in Italy between production, processing, distribution and consumption. Solutions that improve the competitiveness of the agri-food sector, guaranteeing more products quality and optimization of supply chains. These solutions, thanks to digital, can contribute to making our country participate in the challenge of global food growth.

What Is The 4.0 Agriculture?

It is the complex of technologies of precision agriculture (Internet of Things and Big Data Analytics) and those of interconnected agriculture (Internet of Farming). Through the cross analysis of environmental, climatic and cultural factors, it is possible to establish the irrigation and nutritional needs of crops, to prevent pathologies, to identify weeds before their proliferation, to perform targeted interventions, to save time and resources, to affect quality of products, as well as improving crop yields and working conditions.

An Observatory For The Market Evolution

To follow the AgriFood digital evolution, the Politecnico Milano and the University of Brescia have set up the Smart AgriFood Observatory (www.osservatori.net), which they found in the CRIT (the Polo for Digital Innovation based in Cremona, “the Italian rural core”) a strategic partner. “Digital innovation in agrifood manifests itself from production in the field to food distribution, through transformation and can guarantee competitiveness to one of the key sectors for the Italian economy, which contributes over 11% of GDP and 9% on exports”– says the Director of the Observatory, Filippo Renga, born in Cremona.

A Survey That Displays The “Digital AgriFood”

The Observatory presented in the last few days the first Italian survey on the spread of “digital” agriculture which, however, is limited today to only 1% of the total cultivated area. Many Italian SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises) are activating in this transformation process, but a strong innovative drive comes from new companies, with 481 international startups born from 2011 to date, of which 44, well 11%, are Italian. Most of the solutions (50%) can be used regardless of the agricultural sector, while 27% are specifically destined to fruit and vegetables sector, 25% to cereal sector, 16% for wine sector.

An Integrated Logic Is Needed

In order that the digital technologies spread their potential, of course, it is necessary to extend broadband and extra-wide band to rural areas, to ensure the interconnection of the supply chain. Then, we need culture and information, competence and willingness to invest from the companies: a fact not taken for granted, considering the small medium size. Above all, however, it is fundamental an integrated supply chain logic, to incorporate, process and harmonize data internally in support of timely decisions and actions.