The state of the art of digitalisation in the Italian agri-food supply chain was presented a few days ago thanks to the annual survey of the Smart Agri-food Observatory of the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano in collaboration with the University of Brescia.
Digital: A Sea Change For The Sector
The Italian market of Agriculture 4.0 or digital agriculture in 2018 is worth between 370 and 430 million euros (+ 270% in just one year!); it represents 5% of the global and 18% of the European one. Traceability and food quality also benefit from the digital boost, thanks to 133 technological solutions already available: 44% of companies have adopted them, improving efficiency and reducing time and costs. Italian companies are increasingly aware of the opportunities offered by the 4.0 paradigm and are increasingly using digital solutions, through the use of machinery or advanced technologies for crop planning, seeding, cultivation and harvesting. “Digital innovation – stated Filippo Renga, Director of the Smart Agri-food Observatory – is a strategic lever for the Italian agri-food sector, able to guarantee greater competitiveness to the whole supply chain, from field production to food distribution, passing through the transformation. The success of farms goes from the ability to collect and exploit the large amount of data that will be generated, in order to achieve cost control and increase the quality of production, but there’s still little clarity on how to exploit these opportunities”. This is an important signal that, on the one hand, identifies the keystone in the data, on the other it indicates the need to invest in creating right skills, beyond trends.
Startup Companies Are Crucial
The internet of farming benefits from the great positive push of startup companies offering digital solutions to the sector. If there are about 500 new companies in the world, those operating in the field of Agriculture 4.0 represent a quarter of the market share, and Italy is at first place in Europe, even if, with 1% of the total funding, our country is not yet ready for the ability to raise capital. Among the main international and Italian projects identified, 21% are dedicated to the meat supply chain, 17% to fruit and vegetables and 10% to grain market. In 50% of cases, a strong leadership role was played by the actors in distribution and transformation sector.