Data Exchange, facilitating the development of innovative services to support a sustainable and efficient agriculture.
While the agriculture sector is facing its greatest challenge ever – feeding a continuously growing global population while reducing environmental impact and protecting natural resources for future generations – ideas are taking root and innovations are flourishing. That is the real-world context for Agdatahub’s API-Agro platform, the leading secure data exchange ecosystem in the agricultural sector in France and Europe, powered by Dawex technology.
In this interview, CEO Sébastien Picardat comes back on Agdatahub’s goal to coordinate and facilitate the circulation of data, a vital resource for accelerating economic development in the sector while respecting the environment.
Dawex: What are the main challenges faced by agriculture today?
Sébastien Picardat: Economic competitiveness is the main challenge for agriculture today. What we need to do is find ways to ensure that agricultural efforts in France and Europe are able to continue feeding some 500 million consumers in Europe and around the world, not just in terms of quantity but also while respecting food safety standards in a high-pressure societal and environmental context.
To succeed, farmers must now meet three challenges.
1. First, they need access to available practices and techniques, such as fertilizers, seeds, and animal feed, for example, to provide doses in the right quantities at the right times. Internet of Things technologies enable solutions such as yield calculation systems for tractors and harvesters, or connected collars for tracking cattle.
2. Second, operators must be able to promote their production in a globalized environment, recreating ties with consumers by implementing product traceability throughout the sector.
3. Third, the fight against climate change being a major issue, farmers have become key players. Many of their activities have extremely positive impact on efforts deployed to limit global warming, such as helping to develop photosynthesis - a powerful CO2 collector, and integrating innovative techniques to capture methane generated by manure.
Dawex: How do you think exchanging data can help shape the future of farming and the economy in general?
S. Picardat: Data and digital usage models are everywhere! Like any business leader, farmers need to manage their operations, ensure an objective approach to practices, and cross-check their data with other sources in the ecosystem.
There are about 22 million agricultural growings in the European Union today. In France, 280,000 professional operations and 85,000 partner companies – 80% of which are SMEs/VSEs – work both upstream and downstream in the agricultural sector. This also includes banks, insurance companies, distributors, cooperatives, and supply channels.
Each stakeholder owns part of the overall information. Agdatahub’s role is to bring the users and providers of all that data together, as well as to give them access to other information such as weather and satellite images.
Dawex: What led you to choose data exchange as a way to meet business objectives?
S. Picardat: People often think that giving others access to their data somehow diminishes its value. It’s actually quite the opposite. Instilling a sense of sharing and accelerating data circulation within an ecosystem enables the various stakeholders to use data on a daily basis to work more effectively and develop innovative solutions more quickly.
That is our belief and the very reason that motivated us to bring together data users and providers via the API-Agro platform for exchanging useful data across the agriculture ecosystem. We had two options to move forward. We could either develop a solution ourselves or leverage an existing solution. Our financial calculations led us to choose a SaaS application that would benefit from upgrades over time. Plus, we also did not have all the human resources required, and access to hi-tech talent is costly.
Dawex: What motivated your decision to choose Dawex as your technology partner instead of some other market solution?
S. Picardat: We chose to work with Dawex after performing rigorous benchmarks of the solutions available on the market, notably for their ability to handle the widest variety of use cases, ranging from open data to data commercialization. Dawex is also a French company.
We also share common values as entrepreneurs, as well as cultural proximity and a desire to serve the community. Lastly, the platform’s flexibility and sophistication using the OBS trusted Cloud ensures digital independence regarding agricultural data as a means to support food sovereignty in Europe.
Dawex: What is the next step for Agdatahub?
S. Picardat: Our goal is to continue expanding within France, of course, as well as in Europe, particularly in the Benelux region, Germany, Italy, and Spain, and then potentially in Eastern Europe. We are convinced that innovation is essential for reinforcing resilience and competitiveness for agricultural operations, especially with respect to disseminating and sharing information. It is also one of the key factors for meeting the urgent challenges raised by climate change.
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