Artificial intelligence in the agri-food sector


A European Parliament Study, March 2023

An increasingly digitised society involves recording human activity and monitoring products and processes. In the agri-food sector this gives rise to large quantities of data. At the same time, data is also generated for research and scientific experiments.

There is a growing interest in the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in the agri-food sector to extract or exploit the information that can be detected in these data sets. Artificial intelligence algorithms, and the models derived from them, are used as support systems for better decision making or, in some cases, are implemented in automatic control processes and robotics, to alleviate drudgery.

In this study, sensing and data collection in different agri-food sectors are described, together with how the data can lead to better management and better decision making in crop and animal production.

As with other technological advances, AI in this domain comes with its own set of benefits, risks, ethical issues and societal implications. Questions raised with respect to AI include: how to balance potential benefits against potential risks; how to govern the use of these technologies; and how to incorporate socio-ethical value considerations into the policy and legal frameworks under development. Policies for training and education have to support potential users.