In 2018, the European Commission presented proposals for the post-2020 period that seek to improve the sustainability and competitiveness of agriculture through streamlining and innovative solutions. South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency (STRIA) has reviewed these proposals, which may be related to the implementation of the Regions 4Food Interreg Europe project, in which STRIA participates as a partner.
The aim of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is to support European agricultural players and enable rural areas to grow and produce good quality food. The proposals also make it possible for the CAP to make a significant contribution to achieving the objectives of the European Green Agreement, in particular the producer-to-consumer strategy and the biodiversity strategy. The Commission has identified nine specific objectives:
- ensure a fair income for farmers,
- increase competitiveness,
- rebalance the power in the food chain,
- climate change action,
- environmental care,
- preserve landscapes and biodiversity,
- support generational renewal,
- foster vibrant rural areas,
- protect food and health quality.
Among the objectives, two specific objectives for the Regions 4Food Interreg Europe project deserve a closer look. One specific goal is to improve competitiveness and agricultural productivity in a sustainable way. The factsheet provides an overview of incentives and policy instruments to increase EU agricultural productivity, such as research and innovation programs, new technologies, rural development and infrastructure measures, effective advisory systems and further training for farm managers. The other specific goal is to support generational renewal. In this case, the main direction is to modernize the agricultural sector and win over young people by improving their business development. The factsheet identifies the challenges and needs of young farmers in the Union and outlines how a more targeted support system can promote generational renewal and make a greater contribution to the success of young farmers in the agricultural sector.
In line with the above, another important strand of the CAP is to encourage innovation, as this is essential for the creation of a smart, flexible and sustainable agricultural sector. The Regions 4Food project also supports the digitization of the agricultural sector, so that the objectives of the CAP can be an important step forward in achieving, among other things, encouraging investment in research and innovation. It is therefore key to facilitate the launch and development of innovation projects and the dissemination of project results, as well as the widest possible introduction of agricultural knowledge and innovation systems (AKIS). If the national strategic plans for the CAP include the country’s AKIS strategy, this can provide an incentive for sectoral innovation.
Successful AKIS strategies include four main group of actions:
- enhancing knowledge flows and strengthening links between research and practice;
- strengthening all farm advisory services and fostering their interconnection within the AKIS;
- enhancing cross-thematic and cross-border interactive innovation;
- supporting the digital transition in agriculture.
In view of the above, STRIA will continue its work in a more targeted manner in order to successfully implement the project.
The Regions 4Food project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Hungary.