Topic: How global digital agricultural techniques face local contexts: an innovation systems analysis of Smart Dairy development in Southern Chile
Keywords: Smart farming, Innovation dynamics, Dairy, Chile, technology unpacking and repacking
As in other sectors, digitalization is also taken place globally in the dairy sector. Digital agriculture or so-called ‘smart dairying’, comprising technologies such as robotic milking and personalized feeding, is spreading globally. There is however still limited insight on how these technologies develop in emerging countries and adapt to different dairy systems (e.g. between intensive dairy systems and pastoral systems) and institutional contexts. In other words, how global technologies go local. In this paper, based on a case study inspired by innovation systems thinking , we analyse the experienced and perceived barriers and opportunities to smart dairying development within the dairy sector of Chile is put in perspective. Main findings are that technology providers and smart dairy technologies are available, however adoption by different actors is still at a low level. This is due to many of these technologies not being adapted to Chilean farming reality. While apps being are built to handle big data sources and infrastructure availability to support robotic milking has been increased, however how it redefines practices and institutions is still unclear to actors. There is a broad network of actors in the dairy innovation in Chile, but limited sharing of information which hinders effective innovation to embed smart dairying. It became clear that the lack of knowledge, lack of resource mobilization in terms of funding and training availabilities, and the lack of legitimacy in terms of trust and willingness to share are important barriers. Therefore current positive points in the systems such as availability of a market for smart dairy technologies, the availability of the new associations of farmers that share ideas, the increase of trainings available by technology providers and the increase of research on uses of smart technologies in knowledge institutes could be further developed to counteract some of these barriers. These findings raise question to what extent sensitiveness to local conditions is inscripted in smart dairy technologies, and shed light on the co-evolution dynamics that need to be fostered when global technologies arrive in a new context and need to be unpacked and repacked.