EU: Fu­ture re­lies on boost­ing ‘Smart Vil­lages’

Rural & Marketing - - RURAL EUROPE -

Tech­nolo­gies can en­hance “trans­par­ent farm­ing” and, as a re­sult, bet­ter in­form Euro­pean con­sumers about the food they eat, a Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has said to the lo­cal me­dia. The main con­cept of pre­ci­sion farm­ing is op­ti­mi­sa­tion, mean­ing pre­cise ap­pli­ca­tion of in­puts, such as fer­tilis­ers, pes­ti­cides and ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter, which re­sults in a pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

An­a­lysts sug­gest that con­sumers are also ben­e­fited through smart agri­cul­ture, as the food qual­ity is im­proved. But green NGOs claim that pre­ci­sion farm­ing’s role should re­main lim­ited, as the fu­ture does not solely lie in tech­nol­ogy. A re­cent report by the Sci­en­tific and Tech­no­log­i­cal Op­tions As­sess­ment (STOA) com­mit­tee of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment em­pha­sised the en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of smart farm­ing prac­tices in the EU.

The ex­perts stressed that the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of agri­cul­ture be­comes mea­sur­able and ver­i­fi­able by the digi­ti­sa­tion of agri­cul­ture. The report showed that the use of high-tech tools such as GPS sys­tems, de­vices con­trol­ling sprayers and fer­tiliser dis­tri­bu­tion, and cen­sors would have a pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as they will con­trib­ute to a more sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion.

Among oth­ers, pre­ci­sion farm­ing will be able to re­duce or avoid ex­ces­sive chem­i­cal in­put in soil and risk of wa­ter pol­lu­tion; it will re­duce soil com­paction as well as the car­bon foot­print and will also see an improvement in ni­tro­gen-use ef­fi­ciency.

“Pre­ci­sion farm­ing tech­nolo­gies al­low the pro­duc­tion of ‘more with less’. The use of nat­u­ral resources, agro­chem­i­cals, an­tibi­otics and energy will be re­duced to the ben­e­fit of both farm­ers and the en­vi­ron­ment, thus in turn so­ci­ety,” the report noted.

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