Brazilian farmers’ approach to digital: Embracing digital

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Digital agriculture has established a surprisingly strong presence in Brazil. In fact, digital penetration is higher in Brazil than in the United States – 34 percent of farmers say they make online agricultural purchases compared with 26 percent in the United States, a McKinsey survey found. McKinsey recently interviewed more than 750 Brazilian farmers in 11 states about their views on the use of digital technologies in agriculture and to better understand the farmer decision journey, from harvest planning to input purchasing to machinery acquisition. The survey results could help inform the go-to-market strategies of input and machinery suppliers, trading companies, financial institutions, and technology provider, among others.

In a sign of just how digitally connected Brazilian farmers are, 85 percent say they use WhatsApp daily for farm-related purposes. About 70 percent use digital channels daily for farm-related matters beyond information searching. A third of farmers are willing to buy seeds, fertilizer, and other inputs online. Almost a third – and 56 percent in specific crops like cotton – say they are eager to sell their production online. Nonetheless, we identified three factors inhibiting further adoption of digital technologies: concern about cybersecurity, poor website user experience, and inadequate Internet connectivity at the farm level.