Digital Agropolis as a Model of Sustainable Development in Rural Areas of Eurasia Region

Digital Agropolis as a Model of Sustainable Development in Rural Areas of Eurasia Region

Galym Issabayev (Kazakh Leading Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Kazakhstan) and Alma Issabayeva (University of International Business, Kazakhstan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2551-7.ch004

Abstract

The concept of digital agropolis was proposed to ensure food security through the creation sustainable rural eco-settlements in the Eurasian region to produce environmentally friendly products through modern agricultural and digital technologies which cause minimal damage to nature. The digital agropolis model was developed in the form of a detailed description of the distinguishing features of structural systems, functions, and features that leverage green and digital technologies throughout all its components. The model can be replicated with modifications in the Eurasian countries, since it meets common strategic objectives, such as the sustainable development of rural territories; the export-oriented production/processing of organic agricultural products; the sustainable development of rural areas based on the green economy, smart agriculture, and the operations/logistics digitalization; and development of new technologies for organic farming and livestock.
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Introduction

The agro-industrial sector in the countries of Eurasia faces the problems such as the need to increase food production and create employment opportunities for the population in the rural area. In addition, global factors and rapid technological changes are affecting the agricultural sector. Thus, it is vitally necessary to create a model of sustainable rural development in the region.

Food security is critical to the economies of developing countries - according to the global report on food security in 2018, 113 million people from 53 countries experienced hunger (Global Report on Food Crises, 2019). Earlier, the authors proposed a new definition - “Bio-food security” (Issabayev & Issabayeva, 2013; Issabayeva & Issabayev, 2013) in global, regional and national contexts, given the high importance of the combination of terms - “food security” and “food safety.”

The main objective of this study is the theoretical and practical justification of the feasibility of creating a Digital Agropolis as an innovative form of using rural resources in the aspect of a sustainable development strategy in the direction of ensuring bio-food security using digital technologies in the Eurasian region.

The starting point is a confidence that the organic agriculture (Sugden, 2001; ScienceDaily, 2017; Raja & Masresha, 2015) can be an effective way to improve the global economy by ensuring bio-food security and promoting the health of future generations. Global conversion to the organic farming can contribute to a deeply sustainable food system combined with further measures, in particular, one-third of animal products in the human diet, less concentrated feed and less food waste. At the same time, this type of food system has extremely positive environmental consequences, a significant reduction in chemical fertilizers and pesticides and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and does not lead to increased land use, despite lower agricultural yields (ScienceDaily, 2017, November 15). In 2007, EU Regulation (EC) 834/2007 introduced principles and criteria for the processing of organic food. Several scientific publications and research project reports have analyzed and discussed these rules. In recent years, these principles and criteria determine the quality of organic food, after testing and adaptation of its processing (Kahl et al., 2014).

Agricultural production in Eurasia can bring profit to millions of rural residents. It should be noted that the foothill regions in the countries of the region have great potential for the development of organic farming. However, the industry has so far failed to diversify its exports, which would allow it to play a more significant role, for instance, in the economies of Central Asian countries (Voices on Central Asia, 2018, October 11) – the part of the Eurasian region. Based on the ideas of bio-food security, the concept of a Digital Agropolis proposed to create sustainable rural eco-settlements in the Eurasian region that produce environmentally friendly products using modern agricultural and digital technologies with minimal damage to nature.

The fertile piedmont zones of Zailiysky Alatau in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Alatau in the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Kuraminsky ridge in Uzbekistan (Fig.1) were selected because they are favorable for the development of organic agriculture. These regions have little exposure to chemical fertilizers, and are optimal for the use of green energy sources - wind flows, solar radiation, and biomass energy. Water from several rivers, as well as from the groundwater sources, supplies these fertile soils and irrigated lands.

The abovementioned factors create good basic conditions for the production of organic crops. These areas are also ecological zones with traditional livestock breeding (Issabayev & Issabayeva, 2013) and they are ideal conditions to create a full cycle of bio-production within the framework of the Digital Agropolis concept.

Figure 1.

Location of Digital Agropolises identified by the authors

978-1-7998-2551-7.ch004.f01

The map retrieved from http://www.asia-atlas.com/central-asia.htm

Key Terms in this Chapter

Biomass Energy: One of the renewable energy sources, based on the processing of plant/animal waste or biomass.

Digital IT System: A digital data analysis system that uses information technologies

Piedmont Zones: The territories of valleys adjacent directly to hilly and mountain ranges.

Synergistic Effect: Joint complementary action of various processes and actions – in the context of this chapter: the complementary generation of green energy from photovoltaic panels, wind generators, and biogas plants.

Smart Irrigation: A system of automatically started/interrupted irrigation associated with the use of soil moisture sensors.

Intelligent Agriculture (SF): Agricultural production systems associated with the use of information and communication technologies in machinery, equipment, and sensors.

Organic Farming: The production of agricultural products associated with the use of exclusively biological methods of plant protection and organic fertilizers.

Vertical-axis Wind Generator: A device that generates clean electric energy from the weak wind flows, due to the magnetic “cushion” between the rotor - movable part of the wind generator with blades, and the stator - immovable base of the wind generator.

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