The data economy in agri-food: how can I get more out of (my) data?


Lately you hear the term "data economy" more and more often. An economy in which data are crucial to develop new products and services, reach more customers, enter additional markets or offer customers even better service. Data is the key to accelerated innovation and new revenue models. But is this also true for the agri-food sector? What does this mean for our economy, and how can you as a company respond to it?

Let's start with the definition: in the data economy, companies make their proprietary data available to other companies so that both companies can benefit from it. An example: a third player develops a "check-in" app that allows travellers to check in with all participating airlines. Airlines that link to the new app (and thus share their data) do not need to develop a "check-in" app themselves, may reach more customers and offer their customers better service and convenience. The app developer also benefits from this: the more airlines participate, the more complete the service and the more convenient it is for the traveller. Opening up for data sharing therefore offers opportunities and chances.

What does it mean to you? Why should you participate?

In the agri-food sector, we produce food and data. From the moment a product leaves the farm, it becomes part of an extensive agri-food chain. Each link in the chain adds data during further processing of these products. Each link therefore possesses data with its own potential value. But too few companies exploit this (full) potential.

"Data is the new gold. The trick is to connect data and then do something meaningful with it."


Those who do not (yet) see the opportunities, perhaps see the threats. In the example, it is a third player, not necessarily active in the aviation sector, who without any domain knowledge gains access to a new market. In short, if you are not taking advantage of the opportunities in the agri-food sector today, others probably will.

A good digital business strategy provides guidance

Yet many companies hesitate to take the plunge. It feels like they are just "giving away" their data to others. It is therefore important to be well prepared at the start. Drawing up a company-specific digital strategy is crucial.

"Spend time on your strategy, but don't think too long either. Start with a proof-of-concept with one or a few companies. The added value is in the chain, but you have to start before everything is sorted out or you will miss the train."


Start with an inventory of your (own) data. Then determine the potential for data sharing for each data source. Which data do you want to share? And which do you not?

Some tips for drawing up a digital strategy:

  • Dare to think from a "data-as-product" perspective
  • Look with the eyes of your potential "data customers
  • Go beyond the current questions and partners
  • Be open to new challenges, engage in the community to solve issues together and get inspired

Once the inventory has been created, the trick is to put yourself in the shoes of the companies that want to use your data. How can you increase the added value of your data for them and thus increase the value of your data? For example, you can combine data yourself or offer it as data packages. You can also smartly pre-package your data by interpreting it before you share it: offering an alert instead of the raw data. By doing so, you not only market your raw data, but also your domain knowledge. Finally, you can also offer real data services.

"The sky is the limit in the data economy. So it seems. Yet I would like to argue for some realism. Data is the new oil, but mining data also costs money. So you will have to invest smartly."


The added value of a data-sharing platform: "DjustConnect".

The value of data increases as you share it. The cost of opening up your data often does not pay off if you are only going to share the data with one player. Once the first steps are taken towards the data economy, you soon outgrow the classic unilateral model of data sharing and end up with a spaghetti of data connections. This makes it more difficult to keep an overview, increases the number and diversity of data sharing contracts and can give you the feeling of losing control over your data. Moreover, if you share not only your company data, but also the data you manage from your customers' farmers, it is your job to ask them for active consent individually. Quite a job.

A data-sharing platform such as DjustConnect can be a solution here. Data sharing platforms provide infrastructure and services to make data sharing easier for companies. This limits your own investments and you are relieved of the burden, so that you can share data in full confidence. DjustConnect offers your company:

  • 1 central data market where you make your data available to the whole sector.
  • 1 'open' platform through which data is transported safely and efficiently.
  • 1 central dashboard with which you remain 100% in control of your data and decide for yourself with whom you share the data and why. The individual permissions of the individual farmers are also collected via the DjustConnect dashboard.
  • 1 central contract with clear rules for data sharing, in accordance with the applicable legislation and Code of Conduct for data sharing in agriculture.

And the next steps?

It goes without saying that not all companies are at the same starting point. ILVO has therefore developed several canvases that support you in drawing up your own digital strategy. Moreover, the story does not stop with a good digital strategy. You undoubtedly also want to know what your data can yield and which earning model you should use.

For more information, please contact Bart Minne ( of Stephanie Van Weyenberg (