The context and the news have been edifying for the last two weeks, the IPCC has stressed the fact that global warming can no longer be prevented and that the consequences for humanity will be cataclysmic. At the same time, the European Union has legislated to put in place a new CAP that is very “ecologically compatible”, even considering that the agricultural sector is the black sheep of the ecological issue. We at AQUILA ADVANCED believe that this position is at worst a collective suicide, at best a lack of pragmatic vision.
To demonstrate this, we are going to talk about a sovereign asset which is the most vital of all and which is directly impacted by global warming: Water! Today, there is a serious match between the agricultural world and ecology, since the digitalisation of one will make it possible to optimise the management of the other, and to structure an underlying market fairly: that of water.
Agribusiness: the need for fair digitisation
In the summer of 2020, France Relance acknowledged the crucial nature of agriculture in order to guarantee food independence. Certainly motivated by the contributions of Demeter, whose 2021 opus provides a good perspective on the impacts of climate change, the French Republic is investing massively in projects that are crucial to the agricultural environment. It will soon be joined by Mario Draghi’s Italy, which is itself very aware of this problem and of the need to guarantee vectors of power and autonomy; provided, however, that alliances can really exist and appear. A healthy coexistence in short.
But if European agricultural sovereignty rests on the two main powers in the sector, it also depends on the means of production and their control. It is in this sense that the French temperament and ingenuity can be greatly stimulated by the Italian talent for commerce and “business sense”.
Technological projects, such as Agdatahub, make it possible to clarify who owns the data produced by companies and the purpose that the company wishes to give it: even more than consent, the ability to commercialise what is one’s own can promote Italian digitalisation, but also make the French agricultural world aware of the economic challenges posed by this digitalisation.
In the short term, the match between engineering and commerce creates opportunities for all companies in this sector. In the medium and long term, it also allows us to develop agriculture 4.0, to look at the sustainability of sovereignty and to deal with the sovereign asset that interests us: water!
Waterbusiness: the hidden market behind agribusiness
Temperatures are reaching record highs all over the world, for example 80.8°C in Iran at the end of May and 50°C for several days in Canada at the end of June, resulting in many sudden deaths. At the same time, the international press and some mainstream media are beginning to take up a problematic issue: drinking water supplies are collapsing in some parts of the world. This is not just happening to others, by the way, as our own reserves in the European West are below the safe minimum, and rising sea levels beginning to drown some forest regions, as well as the melting of permafrost, are having the perverse effect of emitting methane gas, further accelerating global warming.
Where there is a difficulty, there is an opportunity, as Winston Churchill said: water is becoming a rare commodity! A commodity that can be quoted on the stock market. You only have to look at California to see that. Even more recently, the boss of Nestlé who, in 2005, said that water has a cost and that access to it should be liberalised, before adding a few nuances on the humanism to be added to this approach. In 2019, Nestlé is restructuring its water management by moving away from its French headquarters and adopting a more global approach, with a large regional breakdown of the management of this strategic asset. Finally, in 2021, the Swiss newspaper “Le Temps” mentioned the growing competitiveness in the new Blue Gold!
In the short term, blue gold is at least as much of a concern as Data. And rightly so, these two assets may be linked.
The world of the powerful is now obsessed with a real question about the fairness of their use. While the threat to Data is gradually being discovered and understood (i.e. espionage, political instability, conspiracy, hacking and infrastructure blocking), the threat to Water is not yet clear. Or maybe it is a bit too clear: increased human and animal mortality. How can this be avoided? Before rationing, let’s start by rationalising!
The dual management of these strategic assets would have very positive effects on Western European societies, particularly because Agriculture 4.0 offers an unprecedented rationalisation of the consumption of these resources, but also because the digitalisation of markets and the emergence of more mature Smart Cities are proving to be powerful vectors of regulation.
Yes, the market seems to be the West’s best ally in regulating the water trade! If the asset that water represents requires a unity in its legal treatment between countries of the European Union, it is to be actively involved in the pricing and invoicing model capable of forcing our societies of abundance into a healthy frugality.
Farmers would be required to set an example, in particular through the traceability of reserves and their transformation into foodstuffs.
For States and their administrations, when living organisms are concerned, investment choices in ‘essential’ innovations are also refined, since those who control water and its optimal management thanks to data, are ultimately the custodians of real public power.
Finally, the entrepreneur and the financier can work on shaping an unprecedented scalability based on scarcity and the need to compensate for the vital losses caused by global warming. But they are also consumers of these resources and guarantors of fair water management, as water cannot be wasted without a high financial return.
In order to create a fair water market, i.e. a virtuous circle that stimulates all economic, technological, vital and therefore agricultural sectors, it is necessary to accept this simple reality: in order to avoid a water war, it would seem that only one solution can be envisaged, and that is a controlled commodification and an alignment of the value of this strategic asset with the value of data.
Without this approach, in barely a decade, the peoples and nations that have not taken appropriate action will be brought to their knees, under the authority of the real powers. This puts political approaches and outdated ideologies into perspective. It also reminds us that everyone has a role to play, thanks to the market, in survival. Farming is not excluded and is perhaps the first link in the chain.