Agriculture 4.0 – bringing AgTech ecosystem together

Agriculture 4.0 – bringing AgTech ecosystem together

Bringing together high profile guests from industry, research institutes, and public sector, the conference discussed how technology would affect the agricultural businesses, research and Food 2030.

BRUSSELS – May 11, 2017 KATANA, an EU-wide agribusiness accelerator, and Agrolink Flanders, a knowledge platform of 18 research institutions and practice centers active in primary introduction, played host to Ag and FoodTech professionals at Agriculture 4.0 – Feeding the next generation, a one-day conference held at VLEVA, Brussels on May 11. The conference offered fresh insights on future farming technologies, the role of big data in feeding the world beyond 2050, business models innovations, and provided various networking opportunities to more than 80 professionals from industry, research institutions, and public sector.

“Successful farming should be sustainable, not only environmentally, but also economically, with maximum profitability and operability for the farmer, and a meaningful and significant social return of investment,” said Guido Van Huylenbroeck, the President of Agrolink Flanders, in his opening speech.

Modern digital farming may open new perspectives, especially for the younger generation, however, all actors should be involved in a co-innovative and co-creative approach to ensure that digitization of farming is set to the right direction.

The conference brought insights and innovation from European leaders in Ag and FoodTech through two sessions, fifteen presentations, and two interactive panel discussions. The specific focus of the sessions was on the socio-economic implications of disruptive technologies in Agriculture 4.0, and the role of research institutes in the digitization of agriculture.

Farming industry already embracing IoT

In her keynote, Ana Cuadrado-Galvan from DG Agriculture & Rural Development discussed mechanisms, funding instruments for smart farming and modern technologies. She emphasized the need for creating an innovation ecosystem at national, regional, and European level to further boost the digital transformation of the agricultural sector.

“We have to look for integrated solutions covering the full farming lifecycle, it is not enough to introduce new technology, we also have to analyze the information that comes out and turn it into planning,” pointed out Sjaak Wolfert, scientific coordinator of the IoF 2020 project. “If you are not able to close this lifecycle, then you have an isolated, unhelpful solution.”

Cutting through the hype: how to get AgTech startup traction

Other highlights came from Matija Zulj (Agrivi), who discussed how new farming technologies can help farmers make data-driven decisions, and João Igor, who shared best practices in getting traction in the market based on his experiences with CoolFarm.

Zulj presented attendees with ways to leverage digital transformation and data to achieve timely reactions required by the market. João stressed that the key success factors in the AgTech area lie in finding the balance between robotics, marketing, design, and creativity.

“It is exciting to see the challenges of modern farming recognized as an emerging opportunity for new business models based on cutting edge technology,” said Grigoris Chatzikostas, head of business development at BioSense Institute.

“It is important to see all actors along the agrifood value chain, from farmers to tech entrepreneurs, as a part of the solution.

“Agriculture 4.0 showcased the potential for investment in European agricultural technology, and provided significant networking opportunities for building a sustainable business game in Ag and FoodTech,” concluded Chatzikostas.

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