Europe has committed to a farmer-up approach when it comes to identifying agricultural research priorities and the implementing of the required work, according to Pacôme Elouna Eyenga of the European Commission.

Speaking to a group of farm contractors from 10 EU Member States at the French agricultural show SIMA this week, he said that the European Commission regards a holistic approach to agricultural research as the best way to meet the needs of the farming sectors.

“This means including the views of farmers at all stages in the development and implementation of new research strategies. Many research projects have failed in the past because of the difficulties encountered in replicating laboratory-related results in the field.

“Farmers know how to best to translate themes identified at an academic research level into practical ideas that will work at a commercial level.”

The financial driver for this work is the funding now available from the Horizon 2020 programme, which will be supplemented by the Rural Development measures within the new CAP support programme.

“There will also be scope to identify the specific research priorities for the varius EU regions,” said Eyenga.

“The new measures provide for the establishment of operational groups or partnerships. These will comprise farmers, consultants, academic research teams, agri business and NGOs.

“We need to improve production tools within agriculture address the many social challenges which farmers face as they go about their daily lives.”

Assessing the practical needs of young farmers will be a priority for Eyenga over the next 12 months.

“We will shortly publish a report, which will reflect the uptake of precision farming techniques within Europe,” he said.

“The results of this work will allow farmers and machinery manufacturers to work more closely together as agriculture faces up the challenge of driving efficiency within the industry.”