The recent CAP proposal describes ambitious goals about digital transformation in agriculture for all actors in the agri-food chain. It leaves farmers and cooperatives wondering about the extent to which it will affect their future and what role they can play. At the same time, large agri-food companies worldwide are fine-tuning their corporate strategies about digitization, and Member States are actively thinking about how to achieve these ambitious goals.
As these challenging goals affects many different stakeholders, COPA COGECA saw the ideal purpose to host an event to address this topic. The main stakeholders dealing with digital change were brought together at the event on the 5th of September in Brussels, entitled “EU strategy to promote digital and technological transformation of EU agriculture”. Sjaak Wolfert and Juan Sagarna took part in different panels, on behalf of Internet of Food and Farm 2020.
The event pivoted around three paramount challenges:
- How to build a cross sectorial integrated decision support system that fit farmers’ needs?
- What kind of hard and soft infrastructure do we need?
- What kind of digital skills do we need? how to build an Integrated EU & national system of Digital Upskilling & awareness?
These challenges were the central topics in the organised round tables, enabling all actors present to take the floor and share their views. Representatives of many different organisations were present, such as the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, DG Agri & DG Connect, European Parliament, European Crop Protection Association, Fertilizers Europe, CEMA-Machinery manufacturers association, Agro EDI Europe, Neuropublic, Crevis, Landbrug & Fodevarer, AIOTI.
There were several ideas that were strongly emphasized in the round tables. For instance, the conception that digital products and services must focus on real added value and that the handling of data should be integrated in coherent business models. Also, DG CONNECT expressed the need to undertake actions to enhance the training of stakeholders in the field of digital skills. Participants of the event could also gain some inspiration from the exhibition of Agriculture & Space day, which was celebrated in a park close by.