The high-level event, attended by EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan and EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas, bought together over 500 participants ranging from scientists, advisory service representatives, policy makers and the farming community. The Summit aims to raise awareness about the opportunities of innovation for agriculture and rural communities
Welcoming the event, Copa and Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said “This Summit comes at an opportune time in view of climate change, scarce resources and a rapidly growing worldwide population. Farmers and forest owners need new solutions that allow them to produce more while at the same time using less resources”.
The agriculture and forestry sectors are constantly innovating in order to increase their efficiency and to respond to societal challenges. Farmers are ready to change their management practices and to adopt new tools and techniques if they can see it works. It is consequently vital that next to improving the sector´s environmental performance, that social and economic aspects are also taken into account. This is all the more important when considering that average EU agricultural incomes are only at 40% of earnings in other economic sectors. Action needs to be stepped up.
Progress is already being made in agricultural research and innovation and we will further contribute to the creation of new value chains and business models, based on alternative resources . But to further encourage the uptake of digital farming in Europe, we need to ensure that research activities respond to needs at ground-level. For this to happen, we need to bridge the gap between science and practice. A demand-driven research agenda is essential for finding simple and affordable solutions for end-users. Furthermore, only an evidence and science-based agricultural research policy will bring the right solutions to the challenges that we are facing, Copa and Cogeca Policy Advisor Valentin Opfermann concluded.