EU focuses on “smart farming” strategies

In light of the recent changes to farming subsidies in the EU, it’s crucial that the agricultural industry finds new, effective ways to meet the environmental and economic challenges it’s facing. In particular, the role of “smart farming” has been highlighted as one of the key ways the EU can boost agricultural effectiveness.

That’s why, according to a report by the EU manufacturers of agricultural machinery (CEMA), Europe needs to focus on developing and introducing new technology so that it can deal with these challenges.

As part of the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the EU plans to introduce strategies to meet the needs of individual member states in terms of digitisation. However, there have been calls for the Commission to take a more active role in coordinating these plans.

According to CEMA, member states should be making a “clear commitment” when it comes to the digitisation of the agricultural industry throughout Europe. The report says that “a smart and sustainable digital future for European agriculture and rural areas”.

The document states: “Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Blockchain, the Internet of Things, High-Performance Computing and fast broadband, including 5G, are already causing profound transformations in our economies and societies, and will be particularly critical for smart farming,”.

For example, digitisation can help with smart farming, like using GPS systems to monitor crops. These systems can assess crop needs efficiently, which can then reduce the amount of water, pesticides, and fertiliser is used. This helps farms to “produce more with less”.

In an interview, Jerome Bandry, secretary-general of CEMA, the European trade association representing the manufacturers of agricultural machinery noted: “The Draft Declaration is the opportunity for a clear commitment from the EU member states in that direction.

“The European Commission has placed access to digital farming tools at the top of its agenda for the future CAP. We hope that horizontal strategic objectives, such as the digitisation of the agri-food sector, will be kept as one of the drivers to make European agriculture more competitive, sustainable and economically viable.”

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