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EU paves way for #InternetOfThings (IoT) in food and #farming sector

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iot-farmingThe Internet of Food & Farm 2020 (IoF2020), a €30-million H2020 co-funded project by the European Commission, was officially launched in Amsterdam on the 21st and the 22nd of 2017. An inspiring start of the project enabled project partners to establish a structured collaboration and present their innovative research endeavors, aiming at improving agricultural production through the use of IoT technologies to answer the grand societal challenges. The event gathered more than 140 stakeholders from the European institutions, member states, academia and industry. 

Wageningen University & Research (WUR), the Dutch government and the European Commission welcome the project
The Dutch government and scientific community are very proud that the kick-off event took place in The Netherlands. Dr. George Beers from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and IoF2020 Project Manager welcomed the participants: "I am excited to launch this ambitious project with high expectations from the innovative companies involved and experts in the field."
These expectations were raised even higher by Jack van der Vorst from the WUR Board of Directors, who reiterated: "IoF2020 is paving the way for the data-driven farming and virtual food chains, to make our world smarter and more sustainable."
Despite great implementation challenges, Marjolijn Sonnema, Director-General of DG Agri & Nature at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, assures the positive impact: "Digitized agriculture in Europe will contribute to a more nature inclusive way of producing, to better jobs and new business models, while addressing the challenges of better informing consumers and making food chains more transparent," she said.
The attendance of the prominent speakers from Directorate General-Agriculture and Rural Development and Directorate General-Communication Networks confirmed the European Commission’s commitment to innovative research projects. Tom Tynan, member of the Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, expressed the importance of continuous research and innovation in the European food and farming sector: "The EU pursues the objective of securing viable food production through the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP); and delivering on this objective requires new technologies. We need innovation. Therefore, the European Commission has set up the long-term research priorities in the area."
Mechthild Rohen, Head of the IoT Unit at DG-Connect emphasized the importance of building a sustainable ecosystem for the long-term application of IoT technologies in the European agri-food sector. "Agriculture has entered a new era of digital transformation, where farmers, machine producers and other actors increasingly use IoT devices to ensure efficient farming. This includes acquiring data at every stage of the agricultural production. A dynamic ecosystem, working in the best interest of end-users and producers alike, is being formed as we speak," she said during the opening plenary session.
The political support from the plenary session was transposed into the successful presentation of the project’s governance and work packages, including 5 areas (dairy, meat, arable crops, fruits and vegetables) and 19 demonstrations throughout Europe - the core of the IoF2020 project.
Following the successful first day, the second day was dedicated to EU-related initiatives such, as the Large Scale Pilots and FIWARE. The presentations emphasized the importance of crowd-funding in the large-scale uptake of IoT technologies in Europe.
The IoF2020 project fosters the large-scale uptake of IoT technologies in the European food and farming sector. With a €30-million budget co-funded by the EU, the project has the potential to drastically improve agricultural production, while demonstrating the added value of smart webs of connected objects.

Agriculture

Commission welcomes Council agreement on future Common Agricultural Policy

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On 20 October, the Council agreed on its negotiating position, the so-called general approach, on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform proposals. The Commission welcomes this agreement, a decisive step towards entering the negotiation phase with the co-legislators.

Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said: “I welcome the progress made and the general approach on the Common Agricultural Policy reached over the night. This is an important step for our farmers and our farming community. I am grateful for member states' constructive cooperation and I trust this agreement will help ensure that European agriculture can continue to provide economic, environmental and social benefits for our farmers and citizens in future.”

The European Parliament is also voting on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) proposals during the Plenary session, with voting sessions scheduled until today (23 October). Once the European Parliament agrees on a position for all three CAP reports, the co-legislators will be able to enter into the negotiation phase, with a view to reach an overall agreement.

The Commission presented its CAP reform proposals in June 2018, aiming at a more flexible, performance and results-based approach, while setting higher environmental and climate action ambitions. Following the adoption of the Farm to fork and biodiversity strategies, the Commission presented the CAP reform's compatibility with the Green Deal's ambition.

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Agriculture

Commission organizes first Farm to Fork 2020 conference 

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On 15 October European Green Deal Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, together with  Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski opened the Farm to Fork 2020 conference - Building sustainable food systems together. The virtual conference will also take place today (16 October), it being World Food Day. This conference is the first in what will be an annual gathering of European stakeholders willing to engage and help shape the EU's path towards sustainable food systems.

More than 1,000 stakeholders across the food value chain, public authorities, international and civil society organizations, as well as members of the public have registered to join the debate and contribute to the implementation of the Farm to Fork Strategy, adopted earlier this year. At the heart of the European Green Deal, the strategy aims at a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system. The event will also provide a forum for discussion on the challenges and opportunities linked to the transition to sustainable food systems, as well as on possible further areas of intervention The whole event is accessible via web streaming.

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Agriculture

Commission publishes public opinion survey on EU food and farming

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Three out of four Europeans are aware of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and consider all citizens benefit from it, according to the latest EU-wide Eurobarometer survey of public opinion about agriculture and the CAP, published today by the European Commission. The survey shows that more EU citizens are aware of the CAP (73% today, six percentage points more than in 2017) and believe that the CAP benefits all citizens, not only farmers (76% today, 15 percentage points more than in 2017).

Furthermore, citizens' views on what the main objectives of the CAP should be remain similar to the findings of the 2017 survey. Most believe that providing safe, healthy food of high quality should be the main objective, representing the view of 62% of respondents, same as in 2017. An increased number of Europeans think that the EU is fulfilling its role regarding the key objectives of the CAP. In comparison with 2017, all areas including food security, sustainability, safe and quality food increased by at least five percentage points.

More citizens are now aware of the organic farming logo, covering 56% of respondents (up 29 percentage points compared to 2017). Even though a growing share of citizens believe that agriculture is one of the major causes of climate change (from 29% in 2010 to 42% in 2020), the majority of citizens believe that agriculture has already made a major contribution to fighting climate change, with 55% holding this view, up from 46% in 2010. The survey was conducted from August to September 2020, including more than 27,200 respondents in 27 member states. The full report of the EU-survey will be published later in November. More information is available online.

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