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Digital agriculture and the dawn of smart farming in the e-market

Although South Africa’s economic circumstances are facing turbulent times there remains a lot of room for growth in certain agricultural markets, especially within the evergrowing digital space. The digital agricultural value chain continues to evolve and include previously ignored or non-traditional markets.

Analysing data from several analytical trend searches we can see there continues to be a need for agricultural products from an online perspective. As the world gets smaller and the internet infiltrates our lives to a greater degree people from anywhere can research information, increase their knowledge base as well as greatly improve systems and agricultural practices by merely a click of a button.

 

As stated in the research paper: “A review of social science on digital agriculture, smart farming and agriculture 4.0: New contributions and a future research agenda” – “there are new insights on the link between digital agriculture and farm diversity, new economic, business and institutional arrangements both on-farm, in the value chain and food system, and in the innovation system, and emerging ways to ethically govern digital agriculture.”

The paper further states that, digitalization is expected to radically transform everyday life and productive processes in agriculture and associated food, fibre and bioenergy supply chains and systems and initial signs of transformation are already visible. In the agricultural sector, several concepts have emerged to express different forms of digitalization in agricultural production systems, value chains and more broadly food systems.

This is evident in how emerging farmers browsing agricultural equipment could be a much-needed resource to scale costs, manage rising input costs as well as identify value for money deals. The widespread vehicle that is the digital sphere can provide accurate data and analysation to break stereotypical thought patterns that are acutely applicable.

With the Agri Online business model potential buyers could be sitting in a remote, which is often the case for farmers, part of the country and purchase much-needed equipment from anywhere in the country, therefore gauging costs and quality relatively easy. This form of instant and affordable mechanisation is truly what African agriculture needs to dramatically grow the demand for food, ensuring food security is sustainable. This also allows for a huge amount of new entrants into to Agri e-market.

This adds massively to the agricultural value chain in an evolutionary way, and we must include digital Agri trade into the discussions around the supply and value chain models. For decades farmers have purchased used goods through word of mouth circles and used this form of purchasing behaviour as a norm. However, with the advent of digital agri portals, the scope is so much greater.

Taking these statements into consideration the inference is that we need to understand that digital agri goes beyond our borders, opens up trade possibilities for any farmer, no matter how small their production is, and acts as a training and trading platform like no other, showcasing the instantaneous nature which can make immediate changes.

Dieter Steyn
Managing Director
Agri Online

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