Over the last decade, In Europe and around the globe, biodiversity is disappearing as a consequence of unsustainable human activities. This loss is closely connected to climate change and is disrupting ecosystems that support life on earth. As a result, farmers are increasingly suffering from rises in crop disease, water stress, nutrient deficits and, more generally, from environmental damage. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations member states, has provided a shared blueprint for climate action and prosperity for people and the planet through the unfolding of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The importance of the SDGs for Europe has been reflected in the mission letters President von der Leyen sent to the Commissioners designate at the very beginning of the mandate whereby each member of the College has been exhorted to work towards the achievement of SDGs. Shortly after, the Commission has released the “Farm to Fork” strategy by acknowledging that farming is a crucial sector to make production and consumption sustainable, and to improve the health of European citizens and the innovation of the old continent’s businesses at the same time.
Within this context, several experts have highlighted that agriculture is impacted by global trends related to demographics, economics and climate change. For both the question of biodiversity and agriculture there are solutions but they require deep and transformative changes in the way we produce, consume and trade. In the domain of agriculture, the adoption of new digital farming methods based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), but also on robotics, the blockchain, high performance computing (HPC), the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G-related technologies can increase farm efficiency. At the same time, those technologies can valuably improve environmental sustainability. Indeed, smarter, digitally enabled farming has already proven to help achieving higher quantity and quality yields, as well as increasing resource efficiency and curbing substantially greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, IoT-based applications in agriculture have also been designed to reduce resource depletion and enhance productivity, whereas the future of farming lies in the benefits of connecting, collecting and analysing big data.
Ms Eva Kaili, MEP (S&D/GR)
Mr Gijsbertus Schilthuis, Head of Unit, Policy Perspectives, DG AGRI, European Commission
Mr Luis Neves, CEO, Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI)
Mr David Meszaros, CEO, SmartKas
TBC, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
Dave Keating, Journalist and Brussels Correspondent, France 24