Digital traceability to enhance circular food systems and reach agriculture emissions targets

Katie Kennedy Freeman*, Vivian Valencia, Jorge Marzaroli, Hannah H.E. van Zanten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


How can digital tools increase national circularity measures in agriculture towards GHG reduction and other national goals? During the 26th Conference of Parties (COP) held in November 2021, it was clear that circularity will play a role in meeting important international targets but that the global community and national governments lack the tools to measure the contribution of circular actions in the agriculture sector towards meeting these commitments. In the absence of monitoring and decision-support tools, governments will not know the full impact of their actions towards meeting commitments. This perspective looks at the way that digital agricultural traceability systems can form the building blocks for government action to incentivize enhanced circularity in the agriculture sector and track progress towards international targets. Among the many countries working on digital traceability systems, Uruguay stands out an example of a country pushing towards systemic traceability in multiple aspects of the food system. We examine Uruguay's use of digital traceability systems for sustainable production and redefinition of green markets as an example of a rapidly modernizing digital food system and a beacon for other countries to follow. The case of Uruguay shows that digital tools can create transparency in productive systems and allow the government to target sustainability policies. By using digital traceability systems for livestock, dairy effluents, soil rotations, agricultural chemicals, and forests Uruguay is creating a replicable framework for circularity and long-term sustainable production in the agriculture sector, one policy at a time. This framework serves as a benchmark for other countries in Latin America to reach their traceability, circularity, and emissions reductions targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-422
JournalOutlook on Agriculture
Issue number4
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • agriculture
  • circularity
  • digital
  • emissions reductions
  • food
  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
  • traceability


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