Speaking at the Agridata Summit 2018 in Cordoba, Spain, EU Commissioner Phil Hogan said that one of the ten priorities of the Commission is to establish a digital single market.
He said the Commission is a strong supporter of agricultural digitisation, as part of its broader mission to achieve the digital transformation of the European economy.
He added, however, that due to the fact that Europe has a market more fragmented than the US, it faces many challenges.
Digital Single Market
“Establishing a real single market with minimal obstacles to work across boundaries is therefore essential to unlocking the substantial economies of scale the digital sector can achieve,” he said.
“Within this overarching goal, the digitisation of the rural economy, including farming and food production, is a key challenge.”
Digital technologies have already had a transformative effect on food production, land management, and consumer behaviour, the Commissioner revealed.
In order to reinforce the EU’s competitiveness in digital technologies, the Commissioner highlighted that the Digitising European Industries initiative would support both the development of digital industrial platforms and large-scale pilots.
“These platforms will make data accessible and allow third parties to develop applications based on that data, and connect different users and application to developers,” he said.
“Equipped with appropriate business models, digital agricultural platforms can ultimately be instrumental in the creation of open digital innovation ecosystems.”
In order to reach the “Promised Land” of a more digitised agriculture sector, he emphasised the need for better broadband, connectivity, and infrastructure.
He highlighted the “huge rural-urban gap in the provision of broadband”.
“While 76 % of the EU population now has access to fast broadband only 40 % of homes in rural areas have such access,” he said.
“This is a serious handicap for the development of new businesses, jobs, and prosperity. The lack of connectivity has an extremely high cost for rural populations in general but for agriculture in particular.”
In order to rectify this, the Commissioner revealed that around €6 billion has been dedicated to improving the roll-out of broadband, especially in rural and peripheral areas, benefiting around 18 million rural citizens.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.