News24 May 2019Brussels, BelgiumAgriculture and Rural Development
New technologies and digitisation in agriculture: a crucial aspect to deliver on CAP’s objectives
The European Commission calls on Member states to take advantage of the potential of new technologies and digitisation in agriculture, with the aim to improve the sustainability and competitiveness of the sector, while simplifying the daily work of farmers. This will be necessary to achieve the objectives set by the current and future common agricultural policy (CAP).
Following the declaration for “a smart and sustainable digital future for European agriculture and rural areas” signed by most Member States in April, the Commission met with Member States on 15 May 2019 to present and discuss new technologies and digitisation in agriculture highlighting the advantages and opportunities it offers for the sector. Through the CAP, the Commission aims to facilitate its development at national and regional level.
Innovation and the use of new technologies offer win-win solutions in agriculture. This means combining benefits for the environment and climate while increasing efficiency and competitiveness.
However, the uptake of new technologies remains far below expectations and varies from one country to another. This gap needs to be addressed to ensure that everyone, including the small and medium-sized farmers, can access technology and benefit from it.
Mr. Jerzy Plewa, Director General of Directorate General of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Commission said:
Major challenges lay in front of us. The Commission has proposed a future CAP with higher environmental and climate ambition and, at the same time, a simplified policy framework in a more restricted budgetary environment. The discussions at the Council and European Parliament have highlighted already this tension: we need to do more with less! I am convinced we can achieve this only if we all embrace the potential of new technologies.
The post-2020 CAP proposals also take into account the importance of the use of new technologies in the sector. For example, it includes the mandatory use of the Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients (FaST) by income support beneficiaries. This tool aims to facilitate a sustainable use of fertilisers for all farmers in the EU while boosting the digitisation of the agricultural sector.
By highlighting the opportunities available through Horizon2020 and Horizon Europe funding, the EIP-AGRI network, Rural Development funding, the Commission encouraged Member States to take advantage of the tools and instruments available. For the next budget period, the Commission proposed a €10 billion envelope for research and innovation in food, agriculture, rural development and the bioeconomy under the Horizon Europe programme.
The uptake of new technologies and innovation in rural areas and the agri-food sector will be necessary to ensure an adequate response to current challenges such as the increase of extreme climatic conditions, feeding a growing population and ensuring a generational renewal of the farming sector.