Smart AKIS Transregional Innovation Worshop in Spain
The findings from the regional innovation workshops held in Smart AKIS 7 Innovation Hubs were discussed last Friday, Nov. 24 in Pamplona, Spain, on a first Transregional Innovation Workshop on Smart Farming. The meeting, hosted by INTIA, gathered almost 30 partners, external experts and the members from Smart AKIS International Advisory Board: Mr. Tom Kelly, from Teagasc, Mr. Krijn Poppe, from Wageningen University & Research, and Mr. Klaus Herbert Rolf, from 365 Farmnet. The workshop was split into 2 sessions, one focusing on the multi-actor innovation processes carried out in the 7 Hubs for the emergence of innovation projects and another one focusing on barriers and incentives for smart farming adoption by EU farmers. A complete report on the findings from the workshop will be available in January 2018. Some of the key messages shared were the following:
- Advisory Services still have a key role on disseminating available smart farming technologies among farmers, to which end they have to keep an independent role and can benefit from the latest digital and social media capabilities (videos, podcasts, Augmented Reality, Facebook posts and groups, serious games like GATES). Keeping track on the non-stoping technology development in the market demand for advisors to closely collaborate with agricultural contractors.
- Demonstration is key for adoption: demostration farms, peer groups, farmers groups, where they can see and discuss available technologies are efficient approaches, if wisely managed. Participation of start-ups, applied research institutes and the industry on such multi-actor efforts, such as Operational Groups, can contribute to the adaptation of available technologies to farmers’ real needs, mostly those of small farm holders.
- Adoption of new smart farming technologies might demand new business models, based upon collaboration; in this field, associations or CUMAs might play a facilitating role on the development of new business models follwing social innovation drives.
- Interoperability and standardisation remain a challenge, in spite of industry efforts for progressing in this field, such as the Agricultural Electronics Foundation (AEF) initiative. Farmers demand plug and play approaches for new tech setup, the capacity of upgrade existing equipment and a better usability and simplicity on the tech use and interpretation of data for decision-making.
- Connectivity remains a limitation at EU wide level. Further investments ensuring broad band connectivty all over EU rural and agricultural areas is needed for smart farming tech to be fully embraced.
- Data management arises as one of the main hot topics on the new agricultural digital economy, in terms of data onwership, exploitation and usability. Regulation enshrining data ownership of agronomical data by farmers to be agreed on 2018 at EC, will demand a wide dissemination of such new rights and the visibilisation of the current benefits of sharing such data for farmers, mainly for small farm holders.
- Finally, financing of new investments for smart farming tech face 2 problems: 1) access to available sources of funding should be made easy to understand and apply for farmers, looking for further synergies among available programmes and sources and 2) the value for money of such investments remain fuzzy for many cases, with no emprirical data available. Nonetheless, it is noted that in many cases, the decision of purchasing new equipment by farmers does not solely rely on economic grounds.