Research and access to knowledge

What we do

Equipping farmers

Working with living things and the land is the basis of a farmer's job. This requires an increasing range of knowledge and know-how to be able to produce more efficiently and waste less, responding to environmental and consumer concerns. The traditional farming toolbox has shrunk considerably. Meanwhile, new technological, biotechnical and agronomical solutions are emerging on a global scale. Europe should be mindful not to limit its farming community’s access to technology while competitors benefit from the most recent innovations. We also need to keep European agronomic research in Europe, as European farming systems require ever more tailored responses.

Facilitating technological uptake

Within this fast-changing environment, in order to facilitate technological uptake among farmers, a high level of knowledge, training and advisory services are necessary. Today, around 31% of all active farmers have participated in some form of agricultural training in Europe.

What we believe

Advancing new technologies

Cutting-edge innovation will empower farmers and forest owners to produce more efficiently, helping to close the production cycle while reducing all externalities. This, in turn, will improve farmers’ and forest owners’ integration in the food supply chain. Incorporating information and communications technology as well as new breeding and agronomic techniques in our farm business models will bring tangible positive results, ensuring that farmers can continue to deliver quality products to consumers while reducing the environmental impact.

Fostering innovation

To remain a leading farming continent, Europe should remain open to innovation in agriculture, strengthening our farming model. European farmers and agri-cooperatives have always been eager to adapt and improve their practices, but they need concrete options and a comprehensive toolbox to be effective.

What we call for

Access to varieties

We call on the European institutions to ensure that European farmers and agri-cooperatives are not deprived of the technical options that enable them to face the challenges ahead and compete in dynamic markets. Europe should enable the breeding of varieties to help farmers meet societal demands and challenges regarding climate change, the environment, biodiversity, and the production of sufficient, high-quality food and feed. This can be achieved by providing plant breeders with access to modern plant breeding methods such as targeted mutagenesis.

Involving farmers

We call for better involvement of farmers and agricultural cooperatives in the innovation process by increasing the funds allocated to agricultural research and innovation (R&I) activities. The budget increase for R&I actions in the agricultural domain through Horizon Europe should be accompanied by effective instruments to ensure the real involvement of the farming community in projects. Farmers should not be classified as ‘end-users’ but should play an integral part in all innovation processes. It is therefore necessary to effectively simplify application procedures for European funding programmes in order to ensure and boost the involvement of farms. European farmers need to have equal access to education and lifelong learning. Specific actions need to be carried out under Erasmus+ but also under the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) to support farmers and agri-cooperatives in meeting their training and development goals.
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