The global pandemic crisis has accelerated the digitalization of agriculture, and farmers are more determined to implement smart solutions to increase the field’s performance. Several farmers, producers, local and international experts participated for two days in the AgTech conference “Digital solutions in agriculture” 2021 – a platform for discussion, expertise, and exchange of experiences, in order to promote the competitiveness and sustainability of agriculture through information technologies. The guests of the event discussed several solutions to encourage smart agriculture and were presented the success stories of entrepreneurs who opted for digitalization. Also, the current state of the domestic agriculture sector was analysed from the perspective of digitalization, and top companies presented real solutions to overcome the existing problems in the sector. More than 150 people attended the third edition of the conference. The AgTech Conference was organized by Agrobiznes with the support of the USAID Performance Agriculture in Moldova (APM) project in partnership with the TEKWILL Project, supported by USAID and Sweden.
Sergiu Jaman, founder of Agrobizness: “The first edition of “AgTech” Conference confirmed the increased interest of entrepreneurs, institutions and organizations in the sector towards digitalization, and this year we came up with more solutions and innovations. This year, we are also present in Romania, through our colleagues from AgroInteligența, because AgTech presents a topic of interest for specialists from across the Prut River. I want to thank all our partners because their joint efforts have made this event possible. Together with my colleagues, we looked for interesting and experienced speakers to share valuable suggestions with our participants, so I am sure that the newly obtained information will be successfully implemented”.
How do we reduce expenses? How do we optimize the work process, or the number of workers needed? How do we manage the business remotely? These are just some of the issues that conference attendees tried to find answers to on the first day of the event. “AgTech” speakers spoke about the prospects for the development of Moldovan agriculture, and farmers talked about successful models that they have already managed to implement in business – digital systems for monitoring and control of areas protected by high value crops, applied technological solutions in animal husbandry, digital farm management, orchard monitoring using GPS systems and others. The discussions were divided into four sessions, attended by experts in the field, government representatives, as well as international development partners of the Republic of Moldova.
Agriculture – an important field for the national economy of the Republic of Moldova
Vasile Șarban, Head of the Policy Department for Production, Processing, and Quality Regulation of Plant Products, MADRM: “In the 21st century, the use of information technologies has become a necessity without which we cannot develop. This is also true for the agricultural sector, with innovations being essential to achieve greater productivity and competitiveness without significant losses. The government has aligned with new trends and started implementing digital solutions through the e-Government Agency. Thanks to the platform “eguvernare.md”, we have realized over 40 e-transformation projects, which are for the benefit of the citizens, farmers and people who visit the Republic of Moldova. Nowadays, we need to focus on the implementation of information technologies for all value chains in agriculture, for a greater performance.”
Being one of the essential factors to achieve a performance agriculture, the digitalization of agriculture is also supported by development partners.
Scott Hocklander, Head of Mission of USAID Moldova: “I am surprised and inspired, at the same time, by the involvement of technology in the field of agriculture in the Republic of Moldova. I believe that digitization is an important and beneficial change, especially during the Covid-19 period. We are convinced that using these innovative technologies, Moldovan producers will be able to improve their products and find opportunities to overcome many challenges of these times. This initiative is an important one, because it not only accelerates the digitization process, but also offers young people chances to get involved, the number of which is growing rapidly, and I am impressed. I want to emphasize once again USAID’s continued commitment to develop and breathe new life into Moldova’s agriculture. We will focus our efforts on combining digital tools in agriculture, because being efficient, resilient and competitive will increase the chances of modernization and growth.”
According to statistics, over 850,000 Moldovans work in agriculture and generate, annually, about 13% of the country’s GDP. Even though the digitalisation of the agricultural sector brings many benefits, and a number of actions and tools are already being implemented, there are still many barriers to exploiting its full potential.
Ana Chirița, Director of the TEKWILL project: “Starting from the premises meant to bring together technologies and efficient agriculture, the ICT sector aligns with the needs of the agricultural sector, to contribute to bringing technology companies closer to traditional industries and expand partnerships that can add value increased in the development of both branches. By joining forces, we believe that the IT sector can bring more efficiency, performance, opportunities, and development potential to the agricultural sector. In the last 9 months, with the support of our partners, we have implemented several solutions for the agricultural sector, which should be successfully integrated into the traditional production process. The TEKWILL project will continue to engage and support the country’s strategic sectors, to create new jobs, but also to open doors to other related fields.”
In this context, supporting sustainable agriculture is one of the 5 business verticals that TEKWILL supports within the National Program “Startup Moldova” Digital Impact – a platform that encourages sectoral collaboration between representatives of traditional industries and IT. Some of the initiatives supported by the project were presented at the second day of the “AgTech” Conference. On March 3, participants in the event had the opportunity to learn from representatives of the Agency for Intervention and Payments in Agriculture how the online file submission system works to facilitate obtaining documents for various services. The largest retail networks in the country talked about the experience of payment systems and processes, whyle foreign specialists reported on their experience in the transition from traditional to performance agriculture. Also, for the first time, the conference opened the doors to new innovations in the field of AgTech, offering the opportunity to startups to present their products to the public, during the “Demo Day”. Thus, the event participants established lasting connections with ecosystem players, mentors, sponsors, and potential users of the product.
More details about the event can be followed at https://www.privesc.eu/Arhiva/93911/