Robert Finger:
Digital innovations for sustainable agricultural systems – an economic and policy perspective


Robert Finger is professor of Agricultural Economics and Policy at ETH Zürich, Switzerland. The research of Robert Finger and his team is at the interface of agricultural sciences and economics and contributes to more resilient and sustainable agricultural and food systems. Their research mainly focusses on farm-​level decisions and their interrelation with the environment, markets, societies, and policies, mainly related to European agriculture. The research is highly interdisciplinary and addresses the evaluation and design of agricultural policies, new technologies and agricultural risk management. Their work contributes to decisions in (agricultural) policy, farms, and up- and downstream industries.

Presentation Abstract

Digital innovations can contribute to more sustainable agricultural systems. For example, precision farming technologies can enable more efficient use of inputs (e.g.  pesticides, fertilizer) and thus reduce environmental footprints, while maintaining production levels. However, the large potential of digital innovations is currently under-exploited, especially for European agriculture. To untap this potential, technologies need to become more attractive to farmers and policy makers. To this end, the production-oriented focus needs to be expanded. We argue that accounting for contributions to better environmental performance and better agricultural policies is key to make digital innovations in agriculture viable at large scale.

Robert Finger with Robert Huber, Yanbing Wang, Karin Späti, Melf-Hinrich Ehlers