Digital technologies can support European farmers in increasing profitability, improving their working conditions and reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. The EIP-AGRI network has committed itself to supporting farmers in developing digital technologies adapted to their needs. By improving the knowledge and use of digital technologies and by assessing their benefits and impact on society, the network supports the agricultural community in realising the full potential of digitisation across Europe.
During the past six years, the EIP-AGRI has collected farmers’ needs, opportunities and bottlenecks, and has shared good practices to make this digital future happen. A series of activities such as the workshop on data sharing, the seminar on Digital Innovation Hubs and the Focus Group on benchmarking have already stimulated the further uptake of digital technologies. All these activities have brought together experts from across Europe with different professions, ranging from farmers, researchers, agribusinesses to regional authorities.
The EIP-AGRI network uses its ‘EIP-AGRI recipe’ to host interactive, multidisciplinary, European-wide events. We consider the interaction between people with different backgrounds and expertise crucial to the success of the EIP-AGRI. The possibility to share ideas and experiences, and interactive sessions to identify opportunities and barriers at our events are essential to come up with innovative solutions and to develop ready-to-use research results. The outcomes of our events help target the Rural Development and research agendas. At the same time we stimulate participants to involve other partners from their countries, and to keep in touch with experts from other countries or regions which they have met at the event. In short, we encourage them to become EIP-AGRI ambassadors.
The current proposal for the Common Agricultural Policy post-2020 recognises the importance of national strategies for the development of digital technologies in agriculture and rural areas. In this context, the EIP-AGRI network organised the seminar ‘Multi-level strategies for digitising agriculture and rural areas’ in December 2018, to prepare national, regional and local authorities to (further) set up their strategy supporting the farming community in implementing digital technologies. The seminar stimulated public authorities to kick-start and discuss their strategies with European colleagues and with farmers, researchers and business representatives.
The participants identified barriers and opportunities for setting up digital strategies, such as the availability of proper technology and infrastructure, especially in remote and less developed areas. Most challenges fall into social and institutional domains, such as communication difficulties with people that have diverse profiles, interests and digital skills. During an ‘open space’ session, the participants focused on key issues to foster the development of multi-level strategies. They highlighted the role of demofarms and other peer-to-peer activities, of existing networks, multipliers or public-private partnerships. In addition, they stressed the importance of planning the communication for digitisation, using the right language to address each community member and enriching it through a bottom-up approach.
To support the digital transformation, the EIP-AGRI website now features a section on ‘digitising agriculture’ which grows every day and unlocks all the knowledge that is already available in the EIP-AGRI network. This section inspires the EIP-AGRI community with existing digital technologies, and projects on precision farming, robotics, decision support tools, digital marketing and digital innovation hubs. It provides ideas on how to improve digital skills and knowledge. It gives innovators the opportunity to quickly scan new EIP-AGRI digitisation projects or to find out more about digitisation in their own country.
With more EIP-AGRI digital events to come, the EIP-AGRI will continue to support local authorities, farmers, foresters and the research community in shaping the agricultural digital future.
The European Innovation Partnership 'Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability' (EIP-AGRI) is one of five EIPs which have been launched by the European Commission in a bid to promote rapid modernisation of the sectors concerned, by stepping up innovation efforts. The EIP-AGRI aims to foster innovation in the agricultural and forestry sectors by bringing research and practice closer together – in research and innovation projects as well as via the EIP-AGRI network.
EIPs aim to streamline, simplify and better coordinate existing instruments and initiatives, and complement them with actions where necessary. Two specific funding sources are particularly important for the EIP-AGRI: the EU Research and Innovation framework, Horizon 2020, as well as the EU Rural Development Policy.
Ina Van Hoye
EIP-AGRI Service Point
+32 486 90 77 43
Websection ‘digitising agriculture’ – to get inspired by existing digital technologies, projects and the agricultural community already working with them. To find out how to improve digital skills and knowledge and be part of the digital (r)evolution.
EIP-AGRI seminar: Multi-level strategies for digitising agriculture and rural areas - 12-13 December 2018 in Antwerp, Belgium. At the event page you find presentations and posters of initiatives presented at the seminar. The seminar report is scheduled to be published in April 2019.
EIP-AGRI Brochure Digital evolution in agriculture – available in English, French, German, Hungarian, Latvian, Romanian, Slovenian.
EIP-AGRI facthsheet Digital evolution, with EIP-AGRI scope and links to previous EIP-AGRI events, inspirational ideas, funding opportunities,… related to digitisation.