On 29 January 2020, DESIRA attended the high-level event organised by IoF2020 and SmartAgriHubs at the European Parliament to discuss about ‘Smart Farming: Digitalisation of Agriculture and vision for the new CAP’. The event gathered a varied range of stakeholders such as young farmers, organic farmers, farmer cooperatives, researchers and scientists, representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament.

The main achievements and experiences of Smart Farming in the EU were presented and discussed from different points of views, including their scalability, replicability, sustainability, and possibility to receive further support in the CAP post-2020.

As regards to the adoption of Smart Farming technologies, numerous speakers conveyed on the importance of building ‘trust’ among the end users in making use of digital technologies. To mainstream a digital transition of the agri-food supply chains, the involvement of farmers and consumers in the co-creation of digital technologies was considered not only essential for their final uptake, but also beneficial for their long-term application and ownership.

In terms of achievements, there was high appreciation for the incredible progress and potential of digitalisation in the EU agriculture, but it was also stressed the need to collect more evidence to assess both the risks and actual impacts generated by big data applications at different scale (e.g. farm, local, regional) and on different socio-economic domains. As pointed out by a participant: “Considering the effects of digital technologies on cutting manual labor work or externalising farming activities to digital service providers (e.g. for water management or pesticide control), we need to re-think the role and business models of farmers, and to work on innovative solutions that keep rural areas attractive”.

Conclusions of the event focused on the future CAP and the directions that Smart Farming needs to take in order to tackle public issues, such as the protection of natural resources, job creation, climate change, food safety, and sustainable food systems. Members of the AGRI Committee confirmed that Smart Farming will continue to be very high on the EU policy agenda and that the European Parliament will further work to ensure that Smart Farming provides the benefits that the society and environment demand, and that good practices are exchanged across the EU.

Photo credits: Matteo Metta

Author: Matteo Metta

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