The Digital Agenda presented by the European Commission forms one of the seven pillars of the Europe 2020 Strategy which sets objectives for the growth of the European Union (EU) by 2020. The Digital Agenda proposes to better exploit the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in order to foster innovation, economic growth and progress. And the EU Commission Communication “Digitising European Industry Reaping the full benefits of a Digital Single Market” states that public policy can play an important part in the digitisation of the whole industrial fabric, including agro-food industries.
Data has become a key asset for the food industry which is leading to innovations in technology and the development of new tools and skills. However, the large volume and diverse nature of food value chains data and actors call for specific integration and management procedures to make the most of new economic opportunities based on information, data and cognitive technologies and promote innovation-driven growth. Generating value at the different stages of the data value chain will be at the centre of the future knowledge economy.
Therefore, it can be said that ICTs are radically changing the life of European citizens and digitisation can strengthen the agri-food sector’s position as an engine for growth, job creation and a source of innovation. Within the food value chain, Big Data is gaining ground in areas such as security and traceability management, customer service, or production improvements.
Big Data can help to address the following challenges: to improve competitiveness and redress the imbalances in the food value chain through innovation, to achieve sustainable growth based on a low-carbon and more resource-efficient economy, and to ensure healthier and safer food for all citizens and fitted to their new life style and habits.
The project brings together 7 partners from 7 countries (ES, FR, IT, NL, BG, FI, HU). The partners have developed an exchange of experience approach and work plan which allow them to create synergies and opportunities by identifying good practice implemented in other regions. They will work in close cooperation with stakeholders to interconnect regional innovation ecosystems, and bring together the “quadruple helix” of actors involved at different stages in the food value chain. Best practices for each region will be integrated in their action plans in order to improve the targeted policy instruments governance or to implement projects that will contribute to achieving the above-mentioned goal.
Main project outputs and results will be:
– Seven action plans to improve policy instruments selected by project partners according to their relevance in terms of better exploiting ICT’s potential and deliver innovation to food industry and hence, smart progress and growth.
– Support capacity-building at all levels, that is, staff, organisational and regional but also beyond the partnership considering most project partners are members of the S3P Agri-food on Traceabiliy and Big Data.
– Reinforcing cooperation between research and business sectors and therefore, to improve the economic exploitation of R&D results.
– Delivering strategic guidelines for new programming period.
Regions 4Food partners have chosen Smart Agrifood Summit in Malaga, the world’s largest event on innovation and entrepreneurship in the Agrifood sector, for starting their activities. The two-days meeting between 22-24th June was the occasion for sharing the state of the art of the regional policies for research and innovation in the digitization of the Agrifood sector and highlight the milestones of the project. A rich programme of study visits and exchange of best practices will engage project partners and their local stakeholder in the upcoming 5 years.
Regions4Food had started on 1st June 2018, will end in May 2023 and can count on 1.27 M€ of ERDF fundings. The lead partner is the Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, Government of Andalusia, Spain.
The next project meeting will be held in Nantes in the Pays de La Loire Region France, in February 2019.