Argentina offers possibilities for Smart Agro technologies
Argentina’s natural endowment offers great possibilities for the successful application of smart agro technologies to its farming production: a mild climate with abundant rainfall, rich soils and good human resources from long farming traditions.
European companies have traditionally been a source of expertise, know how and equipment for Argentina’s agribusiness, logistics infrastructure and manufacturing.
The country’s market potential for smart agriculture is huge. It is within the ten largest with land suitable for agricultural development (30 million arable hectares) and it stands out as a leader in food production per capita. It is the 1st world exporter of soybean flour, soybean oil and lemons and the 4th of corn and sunflower oil. The country is also a major exporter of food products such as meats, wines, cereals, citrus fruits, oils, dairy products, teas, vegetables, mate herb, sugar and even fish.
The government focuses on the expansion of the farming economy. It made import procedures more flexible and eliminated export taxes on wheat, corn, meat and other products.
Organic Farming. Argentina exports organic products with a value of US$200 million per year. The country has three million hectares of soil used for chemicals-free farming, which produces around 170,000 tones of a wide variety of locally-produced organic products.
The growing presence of organic farming opens the possibility for European expertise in the cultivation and elaboration of organic food products and other products. In addition, the government is encouraging the utilization of renewable energies through its large RENOVAR plan, in which biomass plays a role.
Smart Agro technologies.
Smart agro technologies are being developed, reflecting a need in the country’s agribusiness environment. They are offered in the following areas:
- Automation and robotics - for instance, to spray the crops or for low cost urban agriculture;
- Traceability and logistics - for instance, to measure the grains quality;
- Market integration - for example, with a franchise system for sheep management;
- Bio-economy and collaborative economy - i.e., a collective financing platform that allows users outside the agricultural world to know and choose the projects that best suit their interests or risk profile to invest on them online;
- Education - as with a computer simulation solution to train the actors of the livestock sector in the analysis of productive, economic and environmental options.
Among the areas for smart agro, is also that of new technologies for production, for example a platform for intelligent sensor networks that integrates data capture, transmission over long-range networks and the management and visualization of data to solve specific challenges of agricultural and livestock activity. Another example is an application that reports on the meteorological variables when spraying.
Finally, there is the area of Agrotourism, food and regional economies, for example a project that aims to generate opportunities for productive differentiation of craft beer with a local identify from the use of native yeasts.
As mentioned, the EU is a traditional supplier of technology to Argentina, and the EU Commission promotes that the EU keeps being at the fore of agribusiness technologies thru a Smart Farming Thematic Network.