As climate change increasingly poses an existential risk for the Earth, scientists and policymakers turn to agriculture and food as areas for urgent and bold action, which need to return within acceptable Planet Boundaries. The links between agriculture, biodiversity and climate change have become so evident that scientists propose a Great Food Transformation towards a healthy diet by 2050 as a major way to save the planet. Achieving these milestones, however, is not easy, both based on current indicators and on the gloomy state of global dialogue in this domain. This is why digital technologies such as wireless connectivity, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and blockchain can and should come to the rescue.
This report looks at the many ways in which digital solutions can be implemented on the ground to help the agrifood chain transform itself to achieve more sustainability. Together with the solution, we identify obstacles, challenges, gaps and possible policy recommendations. Action items are addressed at the European Union both as an actor of change at home, and in global governance, and are spread across ten areas, from boosting connectivity and data governance to actions aimed at empowering small farmers and end users.
Andrea Renda is a Senior Research Fellow and Head of Global Governance, Regulation, Innovation and the Digital Economy (GRID) at CEPS. Nicole Reynolds was a collaborator on “Digitising AgriFood: Pathways and Challenges”, examining how digital technologies can optimize the agrifood chain, reducing agriculture’s impact on the environment, while improving yields to provide adequate food for all. Moritz Laurer is a Research Assistant in the Global Governance, Regulation, Innovation, Digital Economy (GRID) unit at CEPS. Gal Cohen was an intern at CEPS.