Valorization of the API economy for the Flemish agro-food sector

Project Details


Main research question/goal

In the near future, the business operations of agricultural, food and supply chain companies - the agri-food chain - will be faced with an important choice: make an innovation leap by actively participating in the data revolution, or not. Currently, a number of pioneering companies (early adopters) are already discovering the opportunities when there is digital access to data that makes the services of related companies in their economic chain. All kinds of apps combine data (obtained through the access) with the company's own data to make knowledge-rich tools that create new business opportunities and an improved market position.  The 'API economy' is an indispensable step in such a digital business ecosystem. API stands for application programming interface. In other words it is about creating digital traffic switches between data sets from a company and data sharing systems.  
The API economics project aims to increase awareness of the strategic importance of the data revolution, as well as the technical background, among a larger group of companies and farms in the agri-food chain. This clarity about the valorization of the company or farm's own data and of data sharing can, after the pioneers, also win over the early majority. 

Research approach

We engage with companies to inform and inspire around API economy opportunities. We disseminate first experiences of pioneers to make the "why" clear. We support companies in creating a possible digital business strategy, and in building their API ecosystem. We identify with them specific business opportunities. We provide technical know-how and organizational transition skills. We create transparency about data integrity that is technically built into the data sharing system 4.0. We carefully draw up the valorization plan so that each deliverable results in an additional knowledge step at the target companies.


APIs allow companies to innovate faster. The economic potential for the Flemish agri-food sector is great. But the global API economy is also a threat to the local agri-food system. APIs can be used cross-sectorally by virtually any application builder. New disruptive, often non-agricultural, non-Flemish multinational players are poised to roll out API-based services in the agri-food sector.

Partly due to a declining number of Flemish farmers, Flemish agri-food enterprises are under pressure. Doing nothing in the data sharing and API economy sector could mean a loss of market share, of employment and new investments drying up. We expect this project to clarify the urgency and reveal the economic benefits for providers and users: one can market data as a product, valorize domain knowledge, explore new (international) distribution channels and develop new services through API integration, etc.

Effective start/end date1/09/2028/02/23

Flemish Discipline list

  • Other computer engineering, information technology and mathematical engineering not elsewhere classified
  • Economic development, innovation, technological change and growth not elsewhere classified