IOF2020 and SmartAgriHubs joint high-level event in the European Parliament


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On 29th January the two Horizon 2020 projects IoF2020 and SmartAgriHubs, where CEMA is partnering, put together their resources to organise a high-level event titled “Smart Farming: Digitalization of Agriculture & Vision for the new CAP”.

The gathering, hosted by MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen (ECR), saw the panel presence of MEPs Petros Kokkalis (GUE, NGL) and Norbert Lins (EPP), as well as other MEPs in the audience. It was an excellent occasion for the two projects to showcase the progress they have made in testing and implementing their combined 61 test cases in the EU.

The first session focussed on the role of digitalization in the context of EU Agriculture and food challenges. The discussion highlighted the fact that digitalisation in agriculture will be key in the coming years, to achieve the 50% increase in food production necessary to satisfy the needs of an increased population.

Challenges for the deployment of technology

The deployment digital technologies does however face challenges, including the lack of digital skills by farmers, linked to the ever-rising average age of farmers, a missing broadband infrastructure and a lack of reliable cost/benefit analyses on new technologies for farmers to refer to.

Consumers enter into the game

Digital technologies will empower consumers to increasingly access specific information on the traceability of the products they buy, as well as help farmers in knowing what consumers want. It will be important for the EU to define a clear strategy and targets to foster the sustainability consumers require.

The role of data management

The second session was centred on the role of data management and how to enhance the adoption of smart farming technologies. CEMA Technical Director Ivo Hostens was among the panellists, and he underlined that the ag machinery industry, a high-investment and highly innovative industry, sees three main trends in the near future: automation, electrification and artificial intelligence. The industry has pledged to work further on interoperability and to create an open source interface to allow the safe exchange of data, as well as a unique open platform for data consent. Data governance is one of the challenges the industry is facing: principles on data ownership and management, such as those in the EU Code of Conduct on Agricultural data sharing, need to be agreed upon by multiple parties so to be reflective of the needs of different stakeholders in the agri-food chain.

Access to technology in rural areas

The issue of access to technology in rural areas was mentioned and it carried forward to the third session of the event, in which a long-term vision for the EU agriculture, the CAP reform and the place for smart farming were discussed. Panellists discussed different policy instruments that Europe is setting in place to support the digital transformation, and the basic conditions for it to move forward: knowledge-sharing and advisory services, adequate infrastructures and rural broadband, the possibility for farmers to invest at farm level as well as empowerment of consumer trust.


For more information about IoF2020, visit their website: IoF2020 

For more information about SmartAgriHubs, visit their website: SmartAgriHubs 

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IoF2020 has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 731884

SmartAgriHubs has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 818182



Picture Credits: "© European Union 2020 – EP/photographer".