Investing in the future of agriculture through Horizon and CAP

EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Phil Hogan has highlighted that recent concerns over commodity prices, food security and climate change, serve to remind all of us “how vital it is to invest in the area of research and innovation”.

The commissioner was speaking at the Institute of Technology (IT) Tralee this morning, Friday, March 5, at a pre-launch event for the International Agricultural Engineering Degree at the IT.

He said the EU has recognised the importance of this policy area and that since 2013 it has taken major steps to strengthen agriculture research and innovation by doubling investment under Horizon 2020 – the main programme for research and innovation.

He also pointed to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its role in the whole area.

For the next EU budget, spanning the years 2021-2027, the EU Commission is proposing €100 billion for Horizon Europe.

Hogan continued: “Of this, €10 billion is dedicated to the food and agriculture space, and this is a real breakthrough. It will hopefully lead to many new funding opportunities for Irish agri-food and agri-engineering institutions and researchers.”

Partnerships and investment

The EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Affairs went on to say that CAP also plays a crucial role.

“The policy provides money: for innovative on-farm investments; for setting up new companies in rural areas; and for all of these people to work with each other and bring the newest solutions on-farm, through the European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture,” he continued.

That is why we have made research and innovation a key cross-cutting priority in our proposal for the next CAP 2021-2027.

Hogan added: “I believe we have framed a smart blueprint for bringing the EU’s farming and rural development policy into the 21st century.

“Knowledge, innovation and digitalisation of agriculture are all a crosscutting objective of the future policy.”

Meanwhile, he pointed to the key objectives – for farmers and administrative management – of CAP.

In future, the use of new technologies will simplify, speed up and automate many of the administrative procedures.

Hogan continued: “Digital pre-filled applications building on up-to-date reliable information should make it easier and quicker for farmers to apply for support, and easier for the administration to process applications.

“Member states will have to show in their future so-called ‘CAP Strategic Plan’ how they will support investments in: modernisation; innovation; diversification; and in the uptake of new technologies and digital-based opportunities in the farm sector.

“CAP also supports training and installation for young people who want to get into farming, advice for all farmers, as well as services through a farm advisory system.”