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How can we make sense of smart technologies for sustainable agriculture? - A discussion paper

Moschitz, Heidrun and Stolze, Matthias (2018) How can we make sense of smart technologies for sustainable agriculture? - A discussion paper. In: International Farming Systems Association (Ed.) 13th European IFSA Symposium. Book of Abstracts.

[thumbnail of MoschitzStolze_SmartTechSustAgriculture_IFSA_18.pdf] PDF - English

Document available online at: http://ifsa.boku.ac.at/cms/index.php?id=156


This paper discusses the challenges of assessing the benefits and risks of new digital technologies, so-called ‘smart technologies’ for sustainable agri-food systems. It builds on the results of a literature review that was embedded in a wider study on future options for (sustainable) farming systems in Germany. Following the concepts of Actor-Network-Theory, we can conceive of smart technologies in agriculture as networks that can only be understood in their entirety when considering the relationships with all actors involved: technology developers, users (farmers, consumers and others), data analysts, legal regulators, policy makers, and potential others. Furthermore, interaction of the technology and its implementers with nature, such as plants, entire landscapes, and animals, need to be taken into consideration. As a consequence, we have to deal with a highly complex system when assessing the technology – at a time where many of the relevant questions have not been sufficiently researched yet. Building on the FAO’s SAFA guidelines, the paper outlines criteria against which smart technologies could be assessed for their potential to contribute to a sustainable development of agri-food systems. These include aspects of governance, ecology, economy and social issues. We draw some tentative conclusions on the required framework conditions for implementation of digital technology, in particular from the perspective of sustainable agriculture. These are aimed at fuelling further discussion about the potentials and risks of the technology.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:digitization, smart technology, sustainable agriculture, assessment criteria Conceptualizing digitization
Subjects: Food systems > Community development
"Organics" in general
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Rural sociology
European Union
Related Links:http://www.ifsa2018.gr/en/proceedings/symposium_proceedings
Deposited By: Moschitz, Heidrun
ID Code:34019
Deposited On:09 Nov 2018 14:27
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 15:43
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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