In Asia and the Pacific, all actors along the agrifood chain, from farmers to agro-industries and retailers, are increasingly using digital technologies to generate, store and process data and turn information into insights. By using a value-chain approach, it becomes evident for policymakers that not all agrifood chains digitalize at the same speed and therefore require tailored digital policies and strategies. The approach also helps identify critical entry points along the value chain for promoting the digitalization of smallholders and small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). The value-chain lens also sheds light on what drives digital transformation: changes in consumer demographics, technological factors, behaviour and preferences, and changes in the broader environment, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, venture capital and increased pressure on natural resources.
In light of this, there is an increased emphasis on the urgency of facilitating the sustainable transformation of agrifood chains in the region, particularly when it comes to investing in rural development linked with inequality and tied to the digitalization transformation, diversification and resilience of agrifood systems. These priority topics will not go away immediately after the pandemic is over. They will likely stay at the top of the agenda during the next decade.