The digitisation of the EU farming sector, necessary to enable it to compete with the rising global competition, has taken centre stage in the discussions over the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The European Commission has made it clear that providing innovation-driven solutions is the only way for the EU agricultural sector to move forward and address a number of challenges ranging from environment and economy to rural societies in general.
The new CAP’s delivery model gives member states more room to deal with their own special agricultural needs. “Member states and not the European Commission will direct the precise support and funding for innovation and digitisation of farming in the post-2020 CAP, EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan recently told EURACTIV Romania in an interview.
Another hot topic when it comes to innovation in EU farming is the so-called new plant breeding techniques. The term NPBTs describes a number of scientific methods for the genetic engineering of plants to enhance factors like drought tolerance and pest resistance.
In July 2018, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that organisms obtained by mutagenesis plant breeding technique are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and should, in principle, fall under the GMO Directive.
The decision shocked the industry while Hogan said he was “surprised” by the EU ruling. The EU member states remain confused about the issue and the EU executive is now checking the next steps.