The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, has argued that the digitization of the primary sector should be taking place at a faster pace, so that it becomes better able to face the "immense challenges" ahead.
During his speech at DATAGRI 2018, the forum for the promotion of digital transformation in the agro-food sector, held in Cordoba, Hogan acknowledged that the digital revolution of agriculture "is moving forward too slowly."
"We need to accelerate it, because the challenges that producers are facing today are immense. They are being asked to produce more and better foods with fewer resources. They have the task of reducing their environmental footprint. They are expected to meet the changing demands of consumers, and they are also expected to face climate change and volatile global markets," said the European Commissioner.
In his opinion, the best way to accelerate things is "to use smart and future-oriented tools." He therefore proposes "to double the budget for Research and Innovation in Food and Natural Resources within the framework of the Europe Horizon for the period between 2021 and 2027."
Broadband is essential
Also, he called digitization a "transversal objective" of the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), mentioning "the huge difficulties to access broadband connections in certain rural-urban areas."
"While 76% of the EU population now has access to fast broadband, only 40% of households in rural areas have access to it," said the Commissioner.
For its part, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, recalled that the Government of Spain is already working on a digital agenda "with three basic objectives."