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Digital Transformation of the Agricultural Value Chain


Agricultural Credit Cooperatives of Turkey attended a two-day conference jointly organised by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the European Agricultural Research Initiative (EURAGRI).

“Digital Transformation of the Agricultural Value Chain – Opportunities, Challenges and the Role of Science” conference was held on 2-3 December 2020. Originally planned as a physical conference, the event was carried out as an online conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference dealt with digitalisation in the agricultural sector and stakeholders in the fields of politics, science and practice joined it to discuss such issues as the initiatives, strategies and policies with regard to the digitalisation of the agricultural value chain and the rules and/or guidelines for agricultural data.

The conference started with the messages of Julia Klöckner, German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Wolfgang Burtscher, Director-General at the European Commission, DG AGRI and Prof. Gerry Boyle, President of EURAGRI.

The conference shed light on the subjects from different angles and focused on two thematic priorities. Track 1 addressed the digital transformation in agriculture, provided an overview of activities undertaken with respect to digitalisation in farming, and identified further options for cooperation. In the context of track 2, the European Commission, member states and experts discussed rules and guidelines for agricultural data (European Agricultural Data Governance) should be implemented at the EU and national level.

It was stated in the conference that the digitalisation of agriculture is transforming agricultural primary production and the food sector. As a consequence, all actors across the whole value chain up to the consumer are affected by this transformation. The numerous digital innovations in the agricultural and food sector have the potential to contribute to sustainable food production, enhance animal welfare, combat climate change, improve global food security and promote biodiversity. Beside these technological developments, it is agreed that science has an important role to play in critically reflecting and assessing the sustainability of digital innovations. Therefore, academicians shared the research they have done in this field. With regard to a governance framework for agricultural data, it was concluded in the conference that it is necessary to implement guidelines and/or rules that take into account fundamental data principles while ensuring legal certainty for farmers.