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A meeting of the AGRI Committee took place on Monday, 4 March 2019 with Czeslaw Siekierski (EPP, PL) in the Chair.
The meeting was dedicated to a presentation of a Policy Department B study on the “Impacts of the digital economy on the food chain and the CAP” which was presented by Ms Pesce and Ms Kirova from VVA (Valdani, Vicari & Associati, Italy) and Ms Soma from Wanegingen University Research (the Netherlands).
In their interventions, MEPs inquired in particular on the barriers to entry to adopt the new technologies mentioned in the study, their impact on farm structure and the food chain, (notably regarding possible concentration effects) and legal topics related to the use of data collected. While some MEPs questioned the economic logic behind the implementation of the digital revolution to the farming sector, most where supportive of the changes underway and were looking forward to reaping the full benefits of these disruptive technologies.
The main conclusions of the study:
- Technology advancements: technological developments in combination with shifts in power relationships and new business models can cause disruption in agri-food supply chains. In this matter, the relevant technologies are the Internet of Things (IoT), Robotization, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data, Blockchain, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), Virtual Reality, Broadband networks, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and platforms for e-business.
- Value-chain impacts: technology advancement includes integration of technologies in systems to enhance traceability. Often IoT, Big Data and AI are used in combination, as well as AI and robotization. Drones are often combined with satellites and Big Data. Some applications of technologies target reduction of risks in agricultural production, such as detecting crop diseases early on in production. Other applications of technologies primarily target efficiency in production, such as use of water and energy throughout the value chains.
- CAP impacts: CAP provides farmers with opportunities to adapt to new realities, as Member States have to include digital strategies in their programming documents. Conversely, new technologies can improve the monitoring, control and implementation of CAP measures.
Watch video of the event (with multilingual interpretation):