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This session opened with remarks by Mr Aleksandar Bijelić (Chief Digital Officer at MK Group) who introduced the session and the panellists. He also provided an overview of the session, as well as introduced the speakers. In his opening remarks, Bijelic asked the panellists to open the session by describing what they believe digital agriculture is and what it entails.
Dr Oskar Marko (Researcher at BioSense Institute) focused on the disconnect between data, specifically algorithmic data, and the cost/benefit analysis implemented by the farmers themselves. There is a significant gap between data and experience on the ground, in part, due to the myriad challenges that farmers face, from weather changes to cost considerations. Thus, more needs to be done in order to connect farmers to data and technology in a way that is accessible to them and inclusive of their needs. He also highlighted that his company’s platform, BioSense, has more than 11,000 users, which provides educational modules and relevant farming data for farmers.
Mr Milan Dobrota (Founder and CEO of Agremo) highlighted how agriculture is the least digitised industry. He also spoke about the use of drone and satellite data to improve farming methods and emphasised the new opportunities that biotechnology and artificial intelligence will bring to agriculture.
Mr Blagoja Mukanov (Executive Director at AgFutura) underscored how the corporate sector is dominating markets, to the point where farmers feel marginalised. Regardless, there is much opportunity for small companies to work with farmers to respond to their needs in a more inclusive, individual, and direct way. He also stressed that young people can be key to farmers adopting new digital technologies, and more needs to be done to draw them back to the profession of farming and agriculture.
Mr Marko Mandić (Head of Sales for Business and Public Solutions at S&T Serbia) spoke about his company’s experience with farming technology and adoption. He also stressed that in order to increase farmers’ adoption of digital technologies, more needs to be done to include them in summits and events such as the Western Balkans Digital Summit, as well as the work with regulators and the government to ensure that they are properly informed and educated about how to adopt and implement digital technologies.
By Michael J. Oghia