EU: Future relies on boosting ‘Smart Villages’
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.