European Food Summit - How can digitalization help solve global food problems?

How can digitalization help solve global food problems?

Ljubljana, 6. 3. 2023

Let us recall that in September 2015, at the United Nations General Assembly, countries around the world signed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with the aim of ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people live in peace and prosperity.

We are only seven years away from 2030, but all the goals set out in the 2030 Agenda seem further away than they have ever been. The number of people that suffer from hunger in 2021 is 46 million higher than in 2020. We are facing the consequences of climate change, many animal species are becoming extinct, we are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and we are watching the war in Ukraine with concern. The world is currently in the worst food crisis since the Second World War.

Over the past period, it has become clear that food chains are far more vulnerable than we thought. But the question remains, without a completely clear answer: how can we overcome this challenge?

The experts are clear: food supply chains will need to be restructured. They must become more resilient to risks such as climate change.

Many innovations are already emerging, and innovators say that the solution may lie in creating digital support for food production, distribution and the environment. Smart farms are being developed, service platforms are being deployed, with accessible information, analysis and data collection forums providing a wealth of insights and understandings.

However, most of the above innovations are incomplete as they are not fully integrated and provide limited services. Indeed, agriculture as a sector has made the least progress in the digitalization era. This means that innovators have to start at the beginning, with the collection of basic data.


Benefits to be gained from digitalizing food production:

1. Increased agricultural productivity and production with less labour, which would positively impact food security and stabilization of food prices.

2. Optimal use of resources, which would effectively tackle global warming and achieve sustainable agriculture more quickly.

3. Development of new distribution platforms that combine online and offline distribution, thereby stimulating the growth of agri-food companies while ensuring food safety through standardization.

4. Extension of agriculture to biotechnology and microbial processing technologies for the production of new medicines and energy sources.