Agriculture digitale

Agriculture in the age of big data

Agriculture: a sector in step with its time. In recent years, the revolution in information technology has shaken up the farming industry, giving rise to what could be termed as “ageekculture.”

A new vision

The relationship between these “geek farmers” and their work is constantly evolving, due to the powerful influence of digitalisation in the production, distribution and consumption process on their profession. The average size of farms is on an upward trend and technology is required to evolve accordingly. New technology has thus become a decisive tool to support the farmer in making their decisions, while also offering the opportunity to work in an integrated manner and with greater precision. Often considered an old-fashioned sector of activity, agriculture and its innovation were at the forefront of the technological revolution.

The advent of digital technology has thus ushered in a new generation of “agro-entrepreneurs” who have revitalised the image of farming, hitherto spurned by the young people of today. This digital revolution has also spawned a new vision of the profession by revisiting skills and the farmer-consumer relationship whilst also leveraging new opportunities.

An increasingly efficient and environmentally-friendly sector 

In our capitalist society, the pursuit of ever-higher productivity has resulted in the propagation of intensive farming methods. While these enable farms to produce greater quantities at lower cost, they also have the adverse effect of damaging soil quality, draining water resources and killing off wildlife due to the use of pesticides and other harmful chemical products. But now with the digitalisation of farming solutions, agriculture has become a highly competitive and promising economic sector. An increasing number of technological innovations help to optimise crop production and curb resource wastage while also improving farmers’ quality of life. Nowadays it is possible to detect crop disease in advance and analyse soil condition using automated machines. These new techniques and technologies enable farmers to intensify the functioning of a production ecosystem by “fine-tuning their workshop tasks and improving the effectiveness of crop treatments”. 

A sector vying for consumer proximity 

Data digitalisation has facilitated access to production and farming information, thereby breaking down barriers between farmers and consumers. A new form of communication has developed around the big data revolution, enabling farmers to communicate with one another more smoothly thanks to social media. Consumer behaviour is constantly shifting, and consumers have become more involved and attentive to where their products come from. It is therefore essential for the farmer to adapt to their needs and their new consumption patterns. Indeed, consumers have higher standards and now have at their disposal a wide range of tools which allow them to become embedded in the production process. 

In the words of Jacques Mathé, “Spreading knowledge is no longer just a top-down matter”, it has today become the science of sharing between farmers and consumers.