On 21 June 2017, prominent stakeholders from the agri-food sector and the European institutions discussed the role of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as a funding vehicle for supporting both research on and the uptake of precision farming technologies in the EU. Organised by EURACTIV, the event offered participants the opportunity to express their views on the forthcoming reform of the CAP and the broader discussions on the Multiannual financial framework (MFF).
Guests included Ana Cuadrado, Research Programme Officer at the Directorate-General for Agriculture, and Member of Parliament Anthea McIntyre, rapporteur for the European Parliament’s Report on Technological Development for Sustainable Agriculture in the EU. While all participants recognized the potential of precision farming for squaring the circle that puts farming efficiency in line with sustainability, debates polarized around the measures and funding schemes that could make the implementation of smart farming a reality.
Precision farming and the 2014-2020 MFF: where do we stand?
EU funding for the development of precision farming technologies is mainly provided under Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges 2. In addition, the ICT strand of the H2020 programme (under whose scope falls the IoF2020 project) foresees numerous calls for proposals with regards to data-enabled business models. When it comes to the support for the implementation and uptake of precision farming technologies by end-users, this is mostly channeled through rural development programmes under the 2nd Pillar of the CAP.
Should the CAP reward farmers for investing in smart farming?
Representing the European agriculture machinery industry, Ulrich Adam suggested rewarding farmers for investing in precision farming technologies as part of a renewed greening framework for 2020-2027. Under this new scheme, farmers who are able to demonstrate an increase in their productivity while respecting cross-compliance requirements would be rewarded with additional aids on top of the direct basic payments under the 1st Pillar of the CAP.
Precision farming as a market management tool
Talking on behalf of COPA COGECA, Daniel Azevedo highlighted the potential of precision farming technologies as market management tools helping farmers to better adjust production to global commodity trends as well as with local market conditions.
More information on the event can be found here: www.events.euractiv.com