Agriculture shapes rural areas like few other industries, and it secures our food supply. It is in all our interests that farmers and their employees can do their work in a good way. What this means in detail is, of course, controversial. Time and again, farmers are criticised because jobs on their farms are unpopular and food production, storage and distribution are associated with environmental and climate impacts. Of course we want ecologically and socially sustainable food for all people – and a well-functioning agriculture too. Digitalisation promises relief in the conflict between environmental goals with our demand for socially just production and availability of produce: efficient and networked farming has already arrived on many farms, as has fast access to knowledge and digital planning aids. Those involved as well as politician are convicted that agriculture must become more digital in order to become more sustainable. But is digitalisation alone sufficient to solve existing problems?
Dr Christine Rösch heads the research group “Sustainable Bioeconomics” at the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, ITAS at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The agricultural biologist and expert on transformation processes in rural areas explains in this episode of Digitalgespräch which objectives and necessities determine the digital transformation of agriculture, and why fruit-growing is a good example for understanding these processes. She describes which technologies are already widely used, in which innovations many hopes are placed and how well the implementation of modernisation measures is succeeding. Together with the hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Rösch discusses what opportunities digitalisation holds for a more sustainable agriculture, how organic and conventional farms use it, what far-reaching consequences and risks are indicated – and whether there is also a generation conflict to be overcome in the digital transformation of the job description “farmer”.
Link to Christine Rösch’s profile at ITAS: https://www.itas.kit.edu/kollegium_roesch_christine.php
Link to the DESIRA project discussed in this episode: https://desira2020.agr.unipi.it/
Link to informationen on the EU strategy Farm2Fork: https://food.ec.europa.eu/horizontal-topics/farm-fork-strategy_en
The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.