Hosted virtually from Portland, Oregon, the Techlandia Summit ’21 is a series of programs designed to foster collaboration on focused topics that deliver better community outcomes through improved infrastructure and quality of life, efficient service delivery, sustainable and equitable growth, and long-term resilience.
Participants and thought leaders explored ways to improve the shared health, wellbeing, security, and prosperity of citizens through the deployment of data-driven and regionally appropriate services. This collaboration took place during a daily keynote and panel. The topic of Day One was Agriculture, with a focus on the digitization of the agriculture supply chain and how technology impacts transparency, traceability and distribution of food from farm to table.
Farm To Consumer Is A Journey Of Trust
We all participate, to some degree, in the global food value chain. It’s a complex series of steps, extending from farmers to processors, transportation companies, distribution centers, and grocery stores. The food we eat has often traveled for many thousands of miles and been touched – literally or figuratively – by many dozens of hands. But what ties the chain together? Trust.
There is also an increasing focus on sustainability when it comes to food sourcing along the farm to consumer value chain. Food and Agribusiness companies increasingly care about sustainability as a third dimension in addition to the traditional top and bottom line focus for their businesses. This starts with sustainable farming practices and also covers sustainable supply chain processes along the value chain.
Thankfully, the advent of new cloud based technologies like blockchain, IOT or analytics makes it possible to create a food value chain based on trust and transparency among the various stakeholders, enabled by the open sharing of common data, and helps to enable sustainable and yet profitable business practices for this industry.
Techlandia Summit was delighted to welcome Anja Strothkaemper, Vice President Commodity Management and Agribusiness at SAP, as our keynote for our Agriculture session. Anja discussed developing a working blockchain network that unites producers, manufacturers, and retailers toward the common goal of increased food safety and transparency.
Opportunities & Challenges: Using Digital Technologies to Improve Agricultural Supply Chain
When COVID-19 first arrived, the news from stores looked bleak. Photos and stories of out-of-stock food, paper products and cleaning supplies filled news outlets as consumers rushed to stock pantries. And while it seemed that growing consumer demand was causing this sudden shortage, it quickly became clear that the supply chain was indeed the culprit.
A typical agricultural supply chain includes farmers, suppliers, processors, traders, consumers, and other stakeholders. The bigger the network the more complex, and riskier, the supply chain. External factors on agricultural production such as climate, pests, and diseases, which are difficult to predict and control, can often make it difficult to predict the amount of product that will enter the supply chain. The processors and manufacturers who packaged milk for elementary schools in pints or industrial size toilet paper rolls for office buildings were unable to pivot to package goods for home use. Add in the lack of food traceability, slower financial transactions, intensive manual labor, and many other challenges raise additional concerns about the efficiency of the agricultural supply chain.
The second session of Techlandia Summit: Agriculture included an interactive conversation about how these challenges are being turned into opportunities through the use of digital technologies to improve productivity, efficiency of field operations, and constantly improving farming practices based on increased data coverage and comprehensive information.