Digital food futures? Farmland, financial investments and the emergence of new techno-finance intersections

Authors: Sarah Ruth Sippel*,
Topics: Economic Geography, Agricultural Geography, Resources
Keywords: financialisation, farmland, big data, digital farming
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Sparked by the global food and financial crises in 2007/08, the growing involvement of financial actors in food and farming has been one of the major recent transformations in the global food system. Multiple intersections between food and finance can be observed, from commodity speculation to agribusiness to direct investment in agricultural production and farmland. The ‘successful’ liaison between finance capital and farming is, however, neither naturally given nor necessarily an easy undertaking. Turning farming into a ‘bucket’ for financial investment involves the adaptation of new logics and farming rationales as well as processes of framing, mediation, and value creation. At the same time, the very nature of farming – still – as an essentially biological and thus volatile system poses a substantial challenge. Financial investors demand regular documentation and levels of stability and predictability that are hardly compatible with agriculture – but are increasingly seen as achievable via new farming technologies such as digital farming, big data, and precision agriculture. Big capital and big data – are they together a perfect match for future food production? Based on insights from Australia, this lecture explores the linkages between finance capital and new farming technologies. The focus is on the mutual advancement and (co)development of financial interests in farming and new farming technologies, the underlying understandings of ‘nature’, and the implications for farming practices.

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