European Commission, Farm Europe and EU agricultural cooperatives’ representatives visited a gaiasense smart farming site at Kiato, Greece.
The gaiasense integrated smart farming system – which is already applied in the cultivation of grapes at the area of Corinth, Greece – was the focus of a meeting between representatives of the European Commission, the Farm Europe think tank and European grape growers.
“The gaiasense system is an excellent application of new technologies in agricultural production and a really good example of what can and should take place all over EU” , Mr. Pierre Bascou, Director of DG AGRI, stated after the meeting.
The meeting, apart from Mr. Bascou, was also attended by Yves Madre and Luc Vernet, co-founders of the European think tank Farm Europe, representatives of French wine cooperatives (wine makers, agronomists, vineyard technicians) including Copa Cogeca‘s Wine Working Group President Mr. Thierry Coste, the President and members of NEUROPUBLIC and GAIA Epicherein and members of the agricultural cooperative Pegasus / 7 Grapes, which hosted the meeting.
During the first part of the meeting, NEUROPUBLIC’s President Fotis Chatzipapadopoulos presented the gaiasense integrated smart farming system and the innovative, at European level, way in which it combines technological data with the scientific knowledge of the agricultural advisors and and the practical experience of farmers for producing valid advice aiming at reducing inputs and environmental impact and increasing both the financial benefit of farmers and the quality and quantity of the production.
Mr. Mark Legas, President of the Pegasus / 7 Grapes agricoop focused on the specific benefits of the digitization of grapes’ production as well as the added value it adds to the exports. He demonstrated, real-time, both the visualization and the exploitation of the data collected by gaiasense, as well as its digital tools. He made a special reference to the benefits that the farmer reaps through the adoption of an integrated system instead of individual (and disconnected) technical solutions.
The discussions were followed by a field visit to one of the cooperative’s vineyards that participates in the gaiasense smart farming network in the area. The specific site is one of the DataBio Horizon 2020 project’s smart farming pilot sites, in the context of which NEUROPUBLIC is leading Smart Farming activities at EU level.
During the visit, Mr. Chatzipapadopoulos described the operation and the characteristics of the installed telemetric stations and addressed the questions of the guests regarding the technical specifications, the features and the expandability of the stations.
“I am well aware of the gaiasense system and I can say with certainty that there is no other EU country to apply innovation in such a systematic and extended way as gaiasense does in Greece,” said Yves Madre, co-founder of Farm Europe – EU’s most reliable think tank for agriculture.
The main advantage identified by the representatives of the European producers is the possibility that gaiasense offers even to the smallholder farmers to benefit from a big investment in knowledge and technology without participating in the initial investment regarding the installation of the system. This is a feature that make gaiasense applicable to southern Europe countries that are characterized by small parcel size.
I am well aware of the gaiasense system and I can say with certainty that there is no other EU country to apply innovation in such a systematic and extended way as gaiasense does in Greece.
Yves Madre, co-founder of Farm Europe
The last session of the meeting was allocated to a discussion on the role that new technologies can play in the production of grapes. The representatives of the French wine cooperatives presented their economic sizes, their potential as well as the issues that they face. Solutions for addressing these issues, based on new technologies and the cooperation through the exchange of expertise, were discussed.
“Greece is able to offer know-how and advice to all other grape-producing countries of the EU”, said Yves Madre from Farm Europe.
Participants recognized the innovative way in which the european priority of smart farming is applied in Greece, not only improving the income of producers and alleviating the environmental impact of agriculture, but also validating farms and facilitating the application of measures and the funding flow of the new CAP.
“The transition to a digital agriculture is something that E.C. will actively support”, said Mr. Bascou from DG AGRI, “through all necessary resources and measures, which will allow producers to have access to high quality advisory services”.