MEDIA RELEASE

AIBC Agribusiness Industry Chapter Webinar –“Is Agriculture 4.0 Shaping the Future of AgriTech?” 


The Australia India Business Council (AIBC) Agribusiness Industry Chapter held its fifth successful webinar on 19 August 2021, titled: “Is Agriculture 4.0 Shaping the Future of AgriTech?” Event panellists, aided by informative slides, spoke of how the world’s oldest and most essential industry, now facing climate change and other challenges, was being shaped and revolutionised by innovative digital technologies like Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial intelligence (AI).

Jim Varghese AM, AIBC National Chair, speaking as Event Moderator, said this was a significant time for the Agribusiness industry and he welcomed the great opportunity to be with the distinguished panel who would highlight the key technology deliverables of a very important area in the trade and investment between Australia and India.

We recently had the Hon Tony Abbot at our National Annual Australia India Address and he talked about an early harvest agreement as a precursor to a Free Trade Agreement. And Agribusiness was one of those mentioned, as one of the key areas that we would look at.”

Con Livissianis, AIBC Agribusiness Chair in his welcome Address, said this event marked the adoption of digital technologies for increasing agricultural production and farm incomes. 

“Climate change, global population explosion and food security has forced the industry to seek innovative approaches that enhance production with lesser impact to the environment. This is where “AgriTech” or technology-driven agriculture, has unleashed a digital wave that has revolutionized the face of agriculture, to deliver sustainable and profitable food production.”

“Agriculture 4.0 marks the digitalisation of food and agriculture systems using AI, IoT, automation and other technologies to create a hyper-connected network of farms, machines and factories that result in optimization of both food production and consumption.”


Karthik Jayaraman, Co-Founder WayCool foods (India) said his company, a six-year-old Startup, focused on the Agri-commerce space, using a seamlessly integrated technology platform to bridge the gap between farmers and their output and the consumer.

“We buy from over 12 million grocery stores that are spread across 674,000 cities, towns and villages. The impact of all of this is number one, very low remuneration for the farmer compared to what the consumer pays, number two, a significant amount of food waste because the produce is being repetitively handled and number three, very high volatility of prices.”
 
“WayCool has built a new model, wherein we were able to procure directly from farmers, move the produce and products through collection and distribution centres and deliver them to a large network of retailers across southern India.” 

Dan Winson, CEO Zetifi, Rural Connectivity Solutions (NSW, Australia) said outside of metropolitan areas, options for fast broadband were limited and impacted on farmers and the agricultural supply chain. But new generation Ag tech and autonomous machinery software, underpinned by massive data sets, AI algorithms, and IoT – all of these technologies were set to change the industry.

He stated that COVID-19 had accelerated the adoption of technology, leading to new and faster innovations which would enhance the future of Agriculture and Ag tech industries.

“The necessity for remote working, and of course, remote education has been underpinned by a whole stack of technologies, from video conferencing, other remote collaboration and communication tools.”

“As new technologies like the low Earth orbit satellites, and affordable long-range Wi Fi become available, the benefits of digital agriculture will be made available to more and more farmers.” 

Sachin Zagade, MD & CEO, Margadarshak Centre for Agribusiness Development, (MCABD) India
said his organisation had become the ‘mother ship centre’ for agribusiness development, with almost 44% of the population engaged in the industry.

He said India’s Agribusiness from the mid-1990s had grown from food retail and exports to the launch of the Food Safety Authority in 2010 and 2030 was projected to be the decade of end-to-end transparency, farm to fork connectivity, traceability, certification and the ‘online’ farmer. 

“The decade will see food become an increasingly personal subject for households and establishments, as consumers look for high standards of trust and safety in everything they consume. 

“So, what we foresee by 2030 even the small Indian farmer will try having the IoT device installed in his farm which will really direct him how to go ahead with the increment in his farm province.” 

He predicted that by 2030 the industry would move towards higher productivity by using more technology, like drones, robots and IoT devices, and the growth of, “hybrid vertical farms, urban poly houses and greenhouses delivering their produce right to the consumer with complete traceability.”

Kim Russell, Co-Owner, Russell Agriculture Consulting (Australia) highlighted the dynamic data dilemma, the issue of data, data ownership and its safe keeping, a complex one for farmers, who would only participate if they trusted how their data was being used.

“And that data will have value for which the farmer must receive a clear benefit.” 
 “Farming today is an incredibly technology and sustainability driven industry. Water efficiency, pest control, disease control, nutrition all aimed at quality and yield.” 

“Add to them the incredible rise spatial data available through phones, drones, aeroplanes and satellites. You’ll begin to see how this data can be used to drive efficiency, profitability, and sustainability.”

“It is only when this data is gathered, stored, processed and turned into information and used to achieve on farm objectives, and align that with community objectives, that its real value will be realised.”

The lively Q&A session with the panellists, had active viewer participation and emphasised just how much the challenges and benefits of digital agriculture impacted the industry.

Vish Viswanathan, AIBC Make in India Chapter Chair summarised the outcomes of the successful Agritech webinar event and thanked the keynote speakers, panellists, State Bank of India – the sponsor of the event, participants and supporting AIBC Team

You can watch the full replay of the event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMDn7aPZp9o&t=7s

Further details contact Secretariat@ aibc.org.au