At the heart of Rete Semi Rurali is the conservation of agrobiodiversity on farm: we support distributed participatory plant breeding in the communities and on marginal land. This is a system, however, whose success requires a complex organisation for technical monitoring and has therefore considerable costs attached.
Data in the fields is usually gathered on paper, a clunky business, with data easily miscalculated, misread in transcription, easily misplaced and lost.
Besides, our model of distributed knowledge (knows as AKIS – Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System) requires collection of soft context data (such as flavour information and visual characteristics) alongside the hard measurements of scientific testing, so data comes in in great quantity and in different formats; farmers and small organisations often find this difficult to handle in the field, on top of all the rest of their work, something that has really come to light during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Technology, however, can lighten the load, supporting the collection of better data and making sharing easier. That is why, in the context of agrobiodiversity preservation in the Region Lombardia, we are going to introduce a tool to help with data collection and sharing between farmers, agronomists and consumers, across the whole value chain.
A system that can be used for Citizen Science as well as on farm, the technology we are going to adopt has the following expected benefits:
- shorten the time needed for monitoring experiments in the field;
- cut the amount of transcription and data transfer activities;
- provide calculation facilities thus reducing errors;
- help with redirecting manpower focus on analysis of data and dissemination of results.