SCAR-AKIS meeting: Digitalisation in CAP strategic plans, European Partnerships development – 1-2 June, Online

TP Organics is part of the strategic working group of the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research on Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (SCAR-AKIS). It participated in the two-day online meeting of the 6th SCAR-AKIS meeting of the 5th mandate on digitalisation in the CAP strategic plans and the development process of the candidate partnerships on agroecology and food systems.

Day 1: CAP strategic plans & digitalisation

On the first day, Member States were informed about drafting the CAP strategic plans, including interventions, result indicators, the role of digitalisation (a cross-cutting objective) and digitalisation strategies of different Member States were presented, as was the Horizon Europe candidate Partnership ‘Agriculture of data’. The latter, to be launched in 2022/23, will use the possibilities data technologies offer in the field of environmental observation to provide support to improve the sustainability performance of agriculture, and to improve the capacities for policy monitoring and evaluation.

Doris Marquardt, Programme officer at DG AGRI, European Commission, pointed out that digitalisation can contribute to all CAP strategic objectives and all types of farming, including organic and agroecology. The digitalisation strategy needs to specify under which conditions digital technologies contribute, to which extent and to which objectives. The Farm to Fork strategy should be the reference. Digital technologies cannot replace actors to increase structural diversity but can help organic farming achieve a better cost balance. Tailored solutions for agroecology and small(er) farms are needed for digitalisation as an enabler to achieve environmental and socio-economic sustainability, enabling the community itself to create the most suitable solution. Data sharing, capacity building, enabling exchange of information and experience, facilitating investments, and promoting targeted research and innovation are key to enable uptake. Technical innovation has to go hand in hand with new business models and social innovation. Digital skills and avoiding lock-in effects (like dependency of farmers on the use of certain products) were addressed in the proposal on data governance (European Commission, 2020).

A central knowledge reservoir for agricultural innovation

EURAKNOS and EUREKA, EU research projects in which IFOAM Organics Europe is a partner, were mentioned in the context of digital tools to exchange practical knowledge. These two projects will provide standards for national databases that want to connect with the EU database. The easily accessible, EU-wide, centralised knowledge reservoir platform they are building for agricultural innovation and results from EU multi-actor projects will use advanced search tools, will be multilingual and will offer more possibilities and interactivity than the EIP-AGRI website.

Day 2: SCAR strategic working groups on agroecology & food systems

Day 2 was dedicated to the presentation of the SCAR strategic working groups on agroecology (SCAR-AE) and on food systems (SCAR Food Systems). In the framework of agroecology, the thematic network AFINET on agroforestry was presented. TP Organics and IFOAM Organics Europe are both observers of SCAR-AE, and TP Organics is part of the Task Forces 1, 2 and 6 of SCAR-AE to develop a common understanding of agroecology and living labs, identify research needs and ensure collaboration with relevant actors.

In terms of the Food Systems Partnership, TP Organics is part of the core group writing the partnership proposal (template or action plan) for the European Commission. The partnership will address challenges and thematic focus areas with a food systems approach, accelerating the transition toward safe and healthy diets that are sustainably produced in resilient EU and global food systems. Partners presented the progress and recent activities of the two SCAR groups and explored potential for collaboration with SCAR-AKIS in view of developing the two partnerships. In the afternoon, six food system projects that are working on short food supply chains and leveraging public procurement for sustainable food systems were presented: AgroBridges, COACH, Cocoreado, CO-Fresh, FAIRCHAIN, and Ploutos.

TP Organics, the European Technology Platform for organic food and farming and agroecology, is officially recognised by the European Commission for giving input in research and innovation policy and programmes. IFOAM Organics Europe hosts its secretariat.

This communication is co-financed by the LIFE programme of the European Union, under the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME). The sole responsibility for this communication lies with IFOAM Organics Europe. EASME is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information provided.

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