IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Digitising Agrifood: Pathways and Challenges


  • Renda, Andrea
  • Reynolds, Nicole
  • Laurer, Moritz
  • Cohen, Gal


As climate change increasingly poses an existential risk for the Earth, scientists and policymakers turn to agriculture and food as areas for urgent and bold action, which need to return within acceptable Planet Boundaries. The links between agriculture, biodiversity and climate change have become so evident that scientists propose a Great Food Transformation towards a healthy diet by 2050 as a major way to save the planet. Achieving these milestones, however, is not easy, both based on current indicators and on the gloomy state of global dialogue in this domain. This is why digital technologies such as wireless connectivity, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and blockchain can and should come to the rescue. This report looks at the many ways in which digital solutions can be implemented on the ground to help the agrifood chain transform itself to achieve more sustainability. Together with the solution, we identify obstacles, challenges, gaps and possible policy recommendations. Action items are addressed at the European Union both as an actor of change at home, and in global governance, and are spread across ten areas, from boosting connectivity and data governance to actions aimed at empowering small farmers and end users.

Suggested Citation

  • Renda, Andrea & Reynolds, Nicole & Laurer, Moritz & Cohen, Gal, 2019. "Digitising Agrifood: Pathways and Challenges," CEPS Papers 25701, Centre for European Policy Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:eps:cepswp:25701

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schimmelpfennig, David, 2018. "Crop Production Costs, Profits, And Ecosystem Stewardship With Precision Agriculture," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(1), pages 81-103, February.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2019. "Automation and New Tasks: How Technology Displaces and Reinstates Labor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 3-30, Spring.
    3. Vladimir Todorovic & Marinko Maslaric & Sanja Bojic & Maja Jokic & Dejan Mircetic & Svetlana Nikolicic, 2018. "Solutions for More Sustainable Distribution in the Short Food Supply Chains," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(10), pages 1-27, September.
    4. Pilaiwan Phupattanasilp & Sheau-Ru Tong, 2019. "Augmented Reality in the Integrative Internet of Things (AR-IoT): Application for Precision Farming," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(9), pages 1-17, May.
    5. Renda, Andrea, 2017. "How can Sustainable Development Goals be �mainstreamed� in the EU�s Better Regulation Agenda?," CEPS Papers 12334, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    6. Arkaitz Usubiaga-Liaño & Georgina M. Mace & Paul Ekins, 2019. "Limits to agricultural land for retaining acceptable levels of local biodiversity," Nature Sustainability, Nature, vol. 2(6), pages 491-498, June.
    7. Sander Chan & Wanja Amling, 2019. "Does orchestration in the Global Climate Action Agenda effectively prioritize and mobilize transnational climate adaptation action?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 429-446, October.
    8. Athanasios Balafoutis & Bert Beck & Spyros Fountas & Jurgen Vangeyte & Tamme Van der Wal & Iria Soto & Manuel Gómez-Barbero & Andrew Barnes & Vera Eory, 2017. "Precision Agriculture Technologies Positively Contributing to GHG Emissions Mitigation, Farm Productivity and Economics," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 9(8), pages 1-28, July.
    9. Moya Kneafsey & Laura Venn & Ulrich Schmutz & Balász Bálint & Liz Trenchard & Trish Eyden-Woods & Elizabeth Bos & Gemma Sutton & Matthew Blackett, 2013. "Short Food Supply Chains and Local Food Systems in the EU. A State of Play of their Socio-Economic Characteristics," JRC Research Reports JRC80420, Joint Research Centre.
    10. Stephan Kampelmann & Wouter Achten & Dimitrios Petalios & Thomas Bauler, 2014. "Decentralised & Ecological Seeds & Farming in the EU," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/191228, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. Adis Dzebo, 2019. "Effective governance of transnational adaptation initiatives," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 447-466, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Stępień Sebastian & Smędzik-Ambroży Katarzyna & Polcyn Jan & Kwiliński Aleksy & Maican Ionut, 2023. "Are small farms sustainable and technologically smart? Evidence from Poland, Romania, and Lithuania," Central European Economic Journal, Sciendo, vol. 10(57), pages 116-132, January.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Stefania Troiano & Matteo Carzedda & Francesco Marangon, 2023. "Better richer than environmentally friendly? Describing preferences toward and factors affecting precision agriculture adoption in Italy," Agricultural and Food Economics, Springer;Italian Society of Agricultural Economics (SIDEA), vol. 11(1), pages 1-15, December.
    2. Fabíola Sostmeyer Polita & Lívia Madureira, 2021. "Evolution of Short Food Supply Chain Innovation Niches and Its Anchoring to the Socio-Technical Regime: The Case of Direct Selling through Collective Action in North-West Portugal," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(24), pages 1-24, December.
    3. Bilgesu Bayir & Aurélie Charles & Aicha Sekhari & Yacine Ouzrout, 2022. "Issues and Challenges in Short Food Supply Chains: A Systematic Literature Review," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(5), pages 1-20, March.
    4. Patrizia Borsotto & Roberto Cagliero & Francesca Giarè & Giorgia Giordani & Rita Iacono & Ilenia Manetti & Roberta Sardone, 2023. "Measuring Short Food Supply Chain Sustainability: A Selection of Attributes and Indicators through a Qualitative Approach," Agriculture, MDPI, vol. 13(3), pages 1-16, March.
    5. Magnus Benzie & Åsa Persson, 2019. "Governing borderless climate risks: moving beyond the territorial framing of adaptation," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 369-393, October.
    6. Magdalena Raftowicz & Krzysztof Solarz & Agnieszka Dradrach, 2024. "Short Food Supply Chains as a Practical Implication of Sustainable Development Ideas," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 16(7), pages 1-14, March.
    7. Sander Chan & Idil Boran & Harro van Asselt & Paula Ellinger & Miriam Garcia & Thomas Hale & Lukas Hermwille & Kennedy Liti Mbeva & Ayşem Mert & Charles B. Roger & Amy Weinfurter & Oscar Widerberg & P, 2021. "Climate Ambition and Sustainable Development for a New Decade: A Catalytic Framework," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 12(3), pages 245-259, May.
    8. David Horan, 2021. "The SDGs as an Integrative Framework to Assess Coherence of Transnational Multistakeholder Partnerships for SIDS," Working Papers 202110, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    9. Åsa Persson & Adis Dzebo, 2019. "Special issue: Exploring global and transnational governance of climate change adaptation," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 357-367, October.
    10. Marielle Papin, 2019. "Transnational municipal networks: Harbingers of innovation for global adaptation governance?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 467-483, October.
    11. Daniel Puig & Fatemeh Bakhtiari, 0. "Determinants of successful delivery by non-state actors: an exploratory study," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-19.
    12. Magdalena Raftowicz & Magdalena Kalisiak-Mędelska & Mirosław Struś, 2020. "Redefining the Supply Chain Model on the Milicz Carp Market," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(7), pages 1-16, April.
    13. Daniel Puig & Fatemeh Bakhtiari, 2021. "Determinants of successful delivery by non-state actors: an exploratory study," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 93-111, March.
    14. Valeria Borsellino & Emanuele Schimmenti & Hamid El Bilali, 2020. "Agri-Food Markets towards Sustainable Patterns," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(6), pages 1-35, March.
    15. Maria Cecilia Mancini & Davide Menozzi & Michele Donati & Beatrice Biasini & Mario Veneziani & Filippo Arfini, 2019. "Producers’ and Consumers’ Perception of the Sustainability of Short Food Supply Chains: The Case of Parmigiano Reggiano PDO," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(3), pages 1-23, January.
    16. McFadden, Jonathan & Njuki, Eric & Griffin, Terry, 2023. "Precision Agriculture in the Digital Era: Recent Adoption on U.S. Farms," USDA Miscellaneous 333550, United States Department of Agriculture.
    17. Philipp Pattberg & Cille Kaiser & Oscar Widerberg & Johannes Stripple, 2022. "20 Years of global climate change governance research: taking stock and moving forward," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 295-315, June.
    18. Marta Castrica & Vera Ventura & Sara Panseri & Giovanni Ferrazzi & Doriana Tedesco & Claudia Maria Balzaretti, 2020. "The Sustainability of Urban Food Systems: The Case of Mozzarella Production in the City of Milan," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(2), pages 1-13, January.
    19. González-Azcárate, Mario & Cruz-Maceín, José Luis & Bardají, Isabel, 2022. "Certifications in short food supply chains in the region of Madrid. Part of the alternative?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 195(C).
    20. Marco Ammoniaci & Simon-Paolo Kartsiotis & Rita Perria & Paolo Storchi, 2021. "State of the Art of Monitoring Technologies and Data Processing for Precision Viticulture," Agriculture, MDPI, vol. 11(3), pages 1-20, February.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eps:cepswp:25701. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Margarita Minkova (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.