2017 Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA)

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On 28 March, CEMA - European Agricultural Machinery Industry Association joined the EU agri-food community at the annual "Forum for the Future of Agriculture" (FFA) organised by the European Landowners' Organization ELO and Syngenta. 

CEMA was present with a dedicated stand to inform participants about its positions on the reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020 and technology developments such as Precision and Digital Farming. With regards to the CAP, CEMA calls for further support for farmers to invest in those Precision Farming technologies with proven environmental benefits while also supporting farmers' income and competitiveness. In addition, CEMA explained Digital Farming & Intelligent Farm Equipment can help the farming sector to become more productive and sustainable in a global environment.

Precision Farming and access to modern technologies were highlighted across the day as important drivers to bring further sustainability and economic benefits to the farming community. A prominent case example was delivered by Jacob van den Borne who presented the manifold changes and benefits that his dedicated switch to Precision Farming has brought to his potato farm in the Netherlands in recent years. 

On its 10th Anniversary, the FFA enlarged its scope to address agricultural issues at global level. To have a full overview on the challenges and needs of agricultural systems around the world, the FFA brought together high-level speakers from International and European institutions, farmers and agri practitioners from different continents (Europe, Africa, South America), policy-makers and researchers.

All the invited speakers shared views and exchange real experiences on how the implementations of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could help to ensure the necessary food production while improving sustainability in agricultural systems around the globe. 

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laurate, gave the opening keynote speech highlighting 5 key points to advance agriculture & farming systems in the world:

  1. increase investment particularly in developing countries to unleash the potential of different agricultural realities,
  2. enchance support for smallholders to access modern technologies,
  3. ensure nutrition security via public policies
  4. strenghen scientific research and innovation to produce enough food with fewer resources and
  5. find solutions to counterbalance climate change impact on farming systems. 

At European level, and in words of EU's Commissioner of Agriculture Phil Hogan, the CAP was mentioned as a case example on how public polices can:

  • guarantee a decent livelihood for farmers and agribusinesses,
  • provide viable food production contributing to food security;
  • ensure the sustainable use of resources and create growth and jobs in rural areas

About CEMA

CEMA is the association representing the European agricultural machinery industry. With 11 national member associations, the CEMA network represents both large multinational companies as well as the numerous European SMEs active in this sector. CEMA represents more than 4,500 manufacturers, generating an aggregated annual turnover of EUR 26 billion. 135,000 people are directly employed in the sector, with a further 125,000 people working in distribution and maintenance.

Latest from CEMA: ‘Farming 4.0’ at the farm gates

Farming 4.0 is a highly dynamic and rapidly evolving concept – in terms of its full potential, the current state-of-the-art might really be only the tip of the iceberg.  Even if Farming 4.0 already is a reality in certain areas, there clearly is still a lot of untapped potential in terms of automated data processing, data mining, completely integrated production processes, and building up what experts have termed smart digital ecosystems (SDEs) in agriculture.

Yet while the development potential is doubtless high, digital progress in agriculture has been slow. So far, the sector lags greatly behind in becoming ‘the next digital champion’ – as recently envisaged by the European Commission: overall adoption and penetration rates of agricultural software solutions are slow and much lower than predicted, and digital system’s capabilities are often underutilised on the farm. In other words, the question is not whether big data can deliver us bigger yields, but whether it will do so eventually – and by when.

For Farming 4.0 to become a reality in the EU, we need a dedicated joint effort between public institutions, industry actors and the farming community.This article was published as an Op-ed on the European news portal "Euractiv" last 23 May 2016 CLICK HERE 

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