The combination of four Cs: climate, COVID-19, conflict, and cost are interwoven challenges disrupting the agrifood supply chain and leading to higher costs for farms.
At the recent evokeAG 2023 conference, a panel of experts highlighted how technology is central to tackling these challenges, provided it is fit-for-purpose, sustainable and cost effective.
“The conversation around sustainability is really a license to operate,” said Mary Shelman, head of global agribusiness advisory group, The Shelman Group.
“Unless you can demonstrate that you are on a path to more sustainable production, you will either be out of their consideration set or regulated out of business.”
“Cheap food comes at a cost and if the consumers are not paying for it then the environment pays … I think we are seeing that around the world and systems are breaking down,” said Co-Founder and Managing Director of Tasmanian Agricultural Company, Sam Trethewey.
Technology to solve the challenges
Executive Chairman of private investment company, the Macdoch Group, Alasdair MacLeod, argued Australia’s claims as a leader in sustainability need to be backed by data.
“If we are going to hang our hat on Australia having the most sustainable agriculture industry in the world then we have to get better at data.”
“Sooner or later, someone is going to say … ok prove it … and I’m afraid we are not quite ready to do that yet,” he said.
“That’s why Farming for the Future is so important, as the project seeks to understand and quantify the nature of the relationship between natural capital and farm business profitability, and other private benefits. The data that is collected for our research will enable us to understand how we get better on farm data and how we relate that data to our businesses in order to deliver some of those private benefits.”
“Technology is going to have to solve that problem for us … so that farmers can collect that data for us in a painless and seamless manner.”
The evokeAG 2023 conference was held in February this year at the Adelaide Convention Centre.