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Transforming agrifood systems through AI and digital revolution

A drone flies over a farm in Tanzania. (Image source: FAO/Eduardo Soteras)

On 17 May, at the Business Federations of the G7 (B7) meeting which took place in Rome, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), QU Dongy highlighted that AI is not just a technological shift, but is driving a fundamental economic and social transformation at the broadest level

He noted that ”Digital agriculture can revolutionise how we produce, distribute and consume food,” highlighting that potential benefits for farmers and stakeholders across agrifood systems include improved pricing data, minimising food loss and waste, enhancing food safety and stimulating adoption of better seeds, fertiliser and sustainable practices.

The B7 comprises the main business and industrial federations of the G7 members and the European Union. Once a year, the B7 presents its recommendations on selected priority topics to the G7 presidency, which this year is held by Italy.

The Director-General emphasised the central role that data plays in AI and digital technologies, noting that quality data is needed to train innovative tools and to accelerate actions such as agrifood systems transformation.

FAO has a formidable database in FAOSTAT, data is central to FAO’s Strategic Framework 2022-2031 and has an innovation lab to experiment with new sources and methods. One takeaway from those initiatives is that data ecosystems require significant investment and effective collaboration. FAO stands ready to engage and partner with the B7 group and the private sector in this area, Qu said.