Being acutely aware of the complex challenges facing the agricultural sector and the responsibility of Brazil as a major food producer, GEPEMA-AGRIMET (a leading research group at the University of São Paulo, one of the top 50 agricultural schools in the world) is spearheading a dialogue to help realize the promise of agriculture’s digital revolution.

The National Digital Agriculture Symposium will take place on April 9-10, 2019, in Piracicaba, São Paulo. It will bring together specialists in technology, agriculture, and livestock, as well as startups and professionals from across the food and agriculture value chain, with an aim to open a conversation about the most innovative technologies and startups in this space, and the opportunities surrounding them in Brazil and beyond.

TFF Ambassador Jéssica Gimenes Tâmbalo had the chance to interview Nilson Vieira Jr., who is part of GEPEMA-AGRIMET:

Can you give us a quick introduction to who you are and what you do?

I am part of the Agricultural Modeling Research and Extension Group (GEPEMA) and the Research and Extension Group in Agricultural Crops Meteorology (AGRIMET), which is coordinated by Professors Dr. Fábio Ricardo Marin and Dr. Felipe Gustavo Pilau from the Department of Biosystems Engineering, School of Agriculture “Luiz de Queiroz” (ESALQ / USP). We maintain the line of research in modeling and growth of tropical crops, agro-meteorology, evaluation of climatic risks (current and future) for agriculture and agricultural zoning.

Why did you decide to host the National Digital Agriculture Symposium in Piracicaba?

The purpose of the National Digital Agriculture Symposium is to open the debate about innovations in the agriculture sector. We see a need to achieve an increasingly profitable and productive agriculture sector, allied with environmental preservation. We understand it as a demand of society and a mission of agribusiness to ask the question of how we will prepare for the agriculture of the future?

How do you think technology will help solve the world’s challenge of feeding 10 billion by 2050?

I believe the next 30 years will be marked by a rearrangement in the world agricultural sector. Increasing demand and lack of resources requires technological advancement in agriculture. Over the years, many tools have been developed to generate a sector with greater efficiency and sustainability, especially with respect to the rationalization of the use of inputs that is provided by digital agriculture. In the next years, the sector will have to become even more productive and sustainable, whilst dealing with adverse factors such as extreme events, drought and excessive rains, pests and diseases. Technology will have a revolutionary role for the world’s agriculture to succeed in facing these new challenges, transforming the sector to be more productive, efficient and rational. By making better use of inputs and natural resources we can make the productive chain sustainable and ensure food for the next generations.

What topics will be covered at the event?

The program of the Symposium was built comprehensively to include all areas of agriculture, such as the farms, livestock, biotechnology, cost management, precision agriculture, crop forecasting and more. We had the intention to give presence to existing and emerging innovations and to raise the debate about the challenges of future agriculture on all fronts of production. With the Symposium we want to present new technologies and solutions that can help contribute to the transformation of the Brazilian agribusiness into a stronger, more sustainable and technological one.

What is happening in the space of food and agriculture space in Brazil already?

Brazil is one of the largest producers and the largest exporter of food in the world, and is experiencing a moment of digital revolution in agriculture. We will play a key role in the coming years in meeting the needs of our world’s rising population, since it is one of the countries most likely to meet this demand. However, we also realize that it is necessary for the agricultural sector to prepare for this coming revolution and to be up-to-date with the most innovative technologies that can not only increase productivity, but do this is a still doing so in a rational and sustainable way.

Why was Piracicaba was chosen as the headquarters of the National Digital Agriculture Symposium?

The city of Piracicaba reflects is an emerging city known as Ag Tech Valley and is home to several incubators, startup accelerators, agricultural co-workings and major agricultural science courses. In addition to diving into learning about the frontiers of innovation in Digital Agriculture, the event will expand cross-disciplinary networking and knowledge-sharing, and will address how the the Brazilian agricultural and food industry can address the tries to meet the growing demand for quality food.

Thank you for the interview, Nilson!
You can learn more about the National Symposium on Digital Agriculture and any details about the event here.
Join them on April 9th and 10th!