According to FAO, the world population is projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. Therefore, the food production must increase by 70% by a constant land area to fit the demographic evolution. An additional challenge will be the increasing need for fresh water as the agricultural sector consumes 70% of the global fresh water supply. For all these challenges, smart agriculture is expected to be an answer.
But is this industry a promising market for European SMEs? This question was to be answered during the webinar on 13th July 2016. Experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the French SME itk and the gateone-project consortium provided information on market and innovation opportunities: Dr Nevena Alexandrova-Stefanova, Agricultural Innovation Systems and Knowledge Sharing Officer at FAO introduced the organisation’s perspective on and actions in e-agriculture. Eric Jallas, CEO of itk – a French SME active in crop modelling that benefits from the gateone-project – explained how they managed to enter the industry of smart agriculture and what this market offers to SMEs. Finally, Régis Hamelin gave insights how the gateone-project supports the implementation of smart systems in agriculture and which demonstrators are available in this field.
This webinar has shown that innovation in agriculture is highly relevant, especially in the European Union. The participants agreed that smart agriculture is a promising market for European SMEs and the integration of ICT products and processes in the industrial agriculture is an important future exercise that should be in the focus of supporting mechanisms.
The FAO considers that Europe is late in the implementation of smart agriculture. Strong collaborations with farmers are mandatory. European SMEs are very well positioned to enter into the smart agriculture industry as illustrated by itk. Solutions for crops monitoring, fresh products monitoring, farming, smart irrigation… are examples of demonstrators available to be tested within the gateone-project.