IT in The Agricultural Value Chain: Model based analysis of IT support in the agricultural value chain
Over the past decade, the adoption of fragmented IT systems to support agricultural purposes in Norway has significantly increased. However, a lack of comprehensive analytical and empirical research has hindered a thorough assessment of the current state of IT utilization in both animal and plant production. Therefore, the main objective of this research was to investigate the effectiveness and functionality of IT support in the agricultural value chain. To achieve this goal, a qualitative research study was conducted, involving in-depth interviews and questionnaires to examine the processes, tasks, and level of IT adoption among different actors. The integration of IT support in farm operations and specific companies within the value chain was illustrated using modeling languages.
The assessment results unveiled noticeable disparities in the use of IT tools between animal and plant production. Statistical data presentation played a vital role in understanding the correlations between various treatments. Nevertheless, no significant effects of one variable on another were found, except for one situation where farmers' level of experience in IT utilization appeared to enhance their chances of securing part-time or full-time employment, thereby adding more value to their income and benefiting the entire chain. Interestingly, senior farmers displayed higher levels of expertise and experience in IT utilization compared to their younger counterparts. Some farmers found certain systems overly complex, emphasizing the importance of efficient implementation and testing of IT support to increase the flow of information and knowledge among them.
The research proposed several new mechanisms for specific systems that farmers predominantly use, aimed at saving time, enhancing the value chain, and improving user satisfaction. Furthermore, a pilot project for process improvement was suggested. The implementation of a simplified and user-friendly IT system in the agricultural sector could significantly enhance usability and satisfaction for all users involved.