The Agri-Food Industry and the E-Landscape

The Agri-Food Industry and the E-Landscape

Kim Bryceson (University of Queensland, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-501-8.ch012
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Abstract

This chapter provides a brief introduction to the agri-food industry sector and the role that electronic technologies are increasingly playing in ensuring a highly competitive business environment from production through to the final consumer. Key issues such as the dynamics of sustainable production, the drivers of supply and demand and globalised markets, as well as food safety and food security, are discussed within a “Food for Thought” section which provides the context for a more detailed look at a series of technologies used in various agri-food industry chains. Included for special discussion are those ‘e’ technologies associated with precision farming, electronic animal identification, robotic weed and pest control, cold chain RFID logistics tracking and e-commerce. The chapter concludes with a look at emerging issues for businesses within the agri-food industry going forward within the global electronic landscape, their significance, and some potential solutions.
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Introduction

In the minds of the public at large, food production has long been associated with on-farm agricultural endeavors - that is, the physical production of crops and livestock. The image that is conjured up tends to be of people on tractors ploughing and sowing the crop seed, or a herd of cattle being mustered in dusty conditions or of backbreaking harvesting of fruit and vegetables by hand. In other words an industry based on hard manual labour. While such production is of course part of the process of putting food products onto retail shelves, it is actually only the start of a very complex set of business processes and systems which have developed over time and involve some of the most innovative technologies developed.

The objectives of this chapter are:

  • 1.

    To briefly introduce the agri-food industry, its complexity and its importance to society through its integral role in sustaining the world’s population.

  • 2.

    To introduce the eLandscape and to provide an up-to-date review of how electronic technologies are being used across the whole agri-food industry from Paddock to Plate in order to address the growing requirement of a global food market.

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