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Thursday, December 14, 2017
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UNIFARM contributed to Parliament analysis

Briefing indicates that precision farming does add to EU policies ...


A study commissioned by the European Parliament and conducted by the Joint Research Centre confirms that Precision Agriculture (PA) can play a substantial role in the European Union in meeting the increasing demand for food, feed, and raw materials while ensuring sustainable use of natural resources and the environment. The JRC has taken up the line of thinking that UNIFARM has set out in the past years. Their report, to which UNIFARM has contributed - unfortunately without reference - makes valuable recommendations on how PA contributes to EU policies. Also, it concludes in line with UNIFARM that the adoption of PA in Europe encounters specific challenges due to the sizes and diversity of farm structures. An assessment of the potential actions to support the adoption of PA by medium and smaller sized farmers is identified as an important enabling step. In particular, the new EU Common Agriculture Policy provides a key opportunity with a number of instruments and measures, identified in the current briefing, which are available to be used by the EU Member States competent authorities. The JRC report proposes a set of recommendations:

1. There is a need of appropriate guidelines and implementation assistance to EU Member States. A study is needed to identify regions and typology of farms most appropriate for PA and to potential support measures. Also, the development of an EU 'precision farming calculator' tool, made available for differing farming systems and including environmental benefits, would bring decision-support value to farmers and advisers;
2. This should be accompanied by research and development studies. Pilot studies are required to define, monitor and evaluate specific programmes and measures. An example is to improve the assessment of environmental impact, including the wider environmental footprint beyond farm-level. The benefits of PA for more efficient water productivity management is an additional area of high importance for study;
3. The roles of the Farm Advisory Services (FAS), and the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Agricultural Production and Sustainability already established within the CAP implementation could be fostered. These instruments allow Member States to share knowledge and expertise and then draw conclusions concerning advice and research needs for wider use within Europe.


The full report can be downloaded at the site of the EU parliament. Essential reading for all involved in agricultural policies and how the PA technology and management principles will help creating a sustainable agriculture that ensures our food security.


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UNIFARM is carried out in the context of the Galileo FP7 R&D programme supervised by the GSA (Nr. 287206)