L. A. Puntel, É. L. Bolfe, R. J. M. Melchiori, R. Ortega, G. Tiscornia, A. Roel, F. Scaramuzza, S. Best, A. G. Berger, D. S. S. Hansel, D. Palacios Durán, G. R. Balboa
Crop and Pasture Science 74 (6), 555-572, (16 September 2022) https://doi.org/10.1071/CP21759
KEYWORDS: agriculture 4.0, digital agriculture, digital technologies, IoT, regional development, South America, sustainability, technology adoption
Digital agriculture (DA) can contribute solutions to meet an increase in healthy, nutritious, and affordable food demands in an efficient and sustainable way. South America (SA) is one of the main grain and protein producers in the world but the status of DA in the region is unknown. A systematic review and case studies from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile were conducted to address the following objectives: (1) quantify adoption of existing DA technologies, (2) identify limitations for DA adoption; and (3) summarise existing metrics to benchmark DA benefits. Level of DA adoption was led by Brazil and Argentina followed by Uruguay and at a slower rate, Chile. GPS guidance systems, mapping tools, mobile apps and remote sensing were the most adopted DA technologies in SA. The most reported limitations to adoption were technology cost, lack of training, limited number of companies providing services, and unclear benefits from DA. Across the case studies, there was no clear definition of DA. To mitigate some of these limitations, our findings suggest the need for a DA educational curriculum that can fulfill the demand for job skills such as data processing, analysis and interpretation. Regional efforts are needed to standardise these metrics. This will allow stakeholders to design targeted initiatives to promote DA towards sustainability of food production in the region.