Emerging technologies are driving transformational and innovative modalities and business models of agriculture. AI, Robotics and Automation, Big Data analytics, apps, drones and sensors and the shared economy are increasing productivity and operational efficiency while reducing costs and resources, all the more relevant in the light of climate change and scarcity of natural resources.


The agricultural sector has been confronted with multiple challenges, including climate change, the need to reduce the carbon footprint of food production, increased digitization, depopulation of rural areas, increased global consumption, changing consumption patterns and the scarcity of natural resources such as water, soil and biodiversity.

The need to respond to these challenges has led to a profound restructuring of the sector, which has largely involved a greater focus on sustainable approaches and the use of technology in the agricultural sector in order to increase productivity, reduce costs and waste, and use resources efficiently.

The use of technology in the agricultural sector has been increasing in the last years, including through (i) the use of sensors, Big Data and management software, which makes it possible to anticipate potential problems that may arise in farms; (ii) the use of robotics, satellite farming and drones for monitoring purposes, including diagnosis of diseases and control of livestock, among others; (iii) the use of autonomous tractors; (iv) the shared economy and digital platforms which allow farmers to share resources such as machines (the "UBER" phenomenon in agriculture); (vii) vertical farms for the smart-cities of the future, which are characterized by low human labour, absolute control of all crop parameters, maximum food safety, high technology and high productivity; and (viii) agro-food e-commerce. Biotechnology and nanotechnology are also fast developing worldwide further increasing product resilience.


Forces driving the market


Autonomous vehicles, drones, satellites, AI and machine learning throughout the agricultural value chain allow real-time monitoring of crops, animals and equipment, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of processes and precision agriculture.

IoT and Big Data

Real-time data collected by sensors together with the use of Big Data analytics allow optimal decision making while lowering the production costs.

Biotechnology and nanotechnology

Biotechnology and nanotechnology address major challenges in sustainable agriculture and contribute to ensuring food safety, but shall respect environmental, health and welfare concerns.


Sustainable agriculture practices (including vertical farming) ensure the efficient use of natural resources, decrease the use of phytopharmaceuticals and pesticides, and ensure the traceability of products and higher transparency in the value chain, including through the use of AI and DLT/Blockchain.


Digital platforms for agricultural products promote greater interaction between producers and consumers, fair trade practices and easy access to the global market.


Can we help you

VdA has vast experience and strong expertise in all policy, legal and regulatory matters associated with digitalization in the agriculture sector. Our tech and industry insights allow us to provide 360.º legal services to organisations, governments, and regulators.

  • Producers
  • Marketplace providers
  • Technology developers and suppliers
  • R&D institutions
  • Incubators and accelerators
  • Investors
  • Governments
  • Regulators

Our team of experts is delivering strategic and sophisticated legal advice to help our clients on their most challenging and promising projects. With a track-record of advising complex projects for leading companies in the sector, as well as for the public sector. VdA services include:

Private sector:
  • Advising on regulatory and compliance issues for developing, testing and deploying technologies in the Agriculture sector, including AgriTech applications and services, including in the light of environmental, health and welfare requirements
  • Advising on data (personal and non-personal), cybersecurity, insurance and liability issues, as well as on IP protection, technology partnerships and transfers
  • Drafting and negotiating contracts for development, production, storage, marketing, sale and purchase, supply, provision of services, including terms of service and privacy policies for digital solutions


Public sector:
  • Drafting policies, strategies and laws for several Agriculture issues, including for pilot programs, regulatory sandboxes, innovation hubs and experimental clauses for new technologies
  • Advising on public contracts: administrative contracts, public tenders and other pre-contractual proceedings
  • Advising on regulatory and compliance issues, including administrative licences, authorisations and acts, administrative procedure, local regulations, among others
  • Negotiating partnerships and memoranda of understanding with governments, institutions, agencies and the private sector

Our team of experts

The disruption of the Agriculture ecosystem raises complex challenges that require a holistic and sophisticated legal analysis.

We help our clients meet their goals through a cross-sector team that brings lawyers from our ICT, Agro, IP, Data and Cybersecurity, and Public Law Practice Areas. In addition, to deal with the complex challenges brought by the resort to technologies in the sector, our team further works routinely with our colleagues from Tax, Environment, Insurance, Real Estate, Banking & Finance, Projects and IP, among others.


Specialised knowledge is required

The opportunities and challenges of the Agro sector, including those arising from the deployment of emerging technologies, are complex. Specialised knowledge is required for the development and deployment of digitalization strategies. VdA is especially knowledgeable of the opportunities and challenges brought by technology in Europe and in Africa.

VdA is well aware of the opportunities and challenges of the Agricultural sector in Europe, including those arising from the Common Agriculture Policy, the European Green Deal, From Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies, Horizon Europe, among others.

VdA has experience in participating and in advising clients in the context of European Funds Projects, European consortia for innovation and R&D, including Calls of the European Commission and Agencies for Horizon 2020, and the Common Agriculture Policy funding and incentives. 

VdA is well aware of the opportunities and challenges of the Agricultural sector in Africa, including the ones noted in the Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

VdA has experience in advising African countries and entities in investment projects, regulatory issues, asset deals and share deals, taking into consideration not only the applicable existent national laws, but also other relevant legal and regulatory frameworks, including, for instance, on import/export, tax, environment, public law, consumer protection, among others.


Can we do it for you

Assisting you in devising the best approach and models for your business, project, product and service, in the light of legal and regulatory opportunities and constraints.

Assisting you in the development and setting-up of your business, project, product and service, drafting all required documentation, assisting in the negotiation of contracts, interacting with competent authorities, and accompanying you every step of the way.

Assisting you in addressing day-to-day business goals and challenges in the light of the applicable laws and regulations. We are here for you.

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