Smart agriculture refers to the use of new and advanced technologies, integrated into one or more systems, to enable farmers and other stakeholders within the agriculture value chain to improve food production. These advanced devices, precision agriculture and robotic systems allow farmers to be more profitable, efficient, safer, and more environmentally friendly.
As agriculture is one of the predominant economic sectors in most Latin American border areas, innovation and technological development in this sector has a huge potential to produce efficiency gains and to increase productivity. In fact, this value chain has been prioritised during the INNOVACT project in the Peru-Chile border area and in the Mexico-Guatemala border area.
Smart agriculture works, for example, with sensors and remote sensing, automated steering systems, geomapping, high precision positioning systems, variable rate technology, integrated electronic communications. In particular, smart agriculture refers to agricultural production processes, but new technologies offer also innovative ways for marketing, internationalisation and more efficient distribution systems. More than just one technology in particular, it is be the confluence of a diversity of technologies that is bringing a real revolution to the value chain, and it is growing fast.
The transformation is obviously affecting big corporate farms. However, smart agriculture is also enhancing the ability of smallholders in developing countries to innovate connecting with knowledge, networks, and institutions necessary to improve their productivity, food security, and employment opportunities. Where once rural areas and individual producers were largely disconnected from the greater world, today, networks of information and communication technologies represent a transformational opportunity for rural populations, both as producers and consumers.
Many European regions are also pursuing an innovative transformation of their agricultural sector. This is demonstrated by the high number of food clusters or by other innovative agricultural clusters.