Coldiretti, the most important agricultural organization of Italy representing more than 1,5 million agricultural enterprises, organized an invitation-only training workshop titled «Innovation Advisor». The workshop took place on Tuesday, September 11th at Coldiretti’s headquarters in Rome and aimed at informing and training the local representatives of the organization in the 20 regions of Italy, who are responsible for the agricultural advice.
Ms. Elli Tsiforou, Head of GAIA Epicheirein‘s Brussels Office, was invited to present, as a good practice, the strategy and approach of GAIA Epicheirein on topics related to innovation advice and more specifically regarding the gaiasense smart farming system which GAIA develops in collaboration with NEUROPUBLIC.
In the context of her presentation, Ms. Tsiforou highlighted the fact that GAIA Epicheirein’s strategic decision to invest in technological innovation addresses basic needs of Greek farmers: reduction of production costs and increase of both productivity and competitiveness. Ms. Tsiforou pointed out that, «the cumulative financial benefits for the farmers, resulting from the reduction of inputs and the increase in productivity, after the first 2 years of the pilot implementation of gaiasense are impressive and range, depending on the crop and other parameters, between 18% – 36%».
Ms. Tsiforou also added that «gaiasense is a smart farming system; an integrated and low cost agricultural advisory service that does not require from the Greek farmer to invest, as it takes into consideration the structural characteristics of the greek agricultural sector: the small and fragmented land and the low investment capacity of the farmers. As such, gaiasense can be an interesting solutions for countries with a similar agricultural sector like Italy».
Additionally, Ms. Tsiforou highlighted the fact that gaiasense follows the reasoning of the European Commission regarding the agricultural innovation as it fully adopts the model of «interactive innovation» which consists of not the linear transfer of knowledge but the exchange and the coexistence of solutions combining different types of knowledge from different sources. «gaiasense is based on an innovation approach in which advisors are identified and authorised as “facilitators” in an ecosystem of people and devices that produce, share and make use of knowledge».
Last but not least, E. Tsiforou referred to the common challenges that all EU countries are called to address in the context of the CAP after 2020, as on the basis of the legislative proposals of the European Commission, their national plans need to obligingly include the development and implementation of the strategy for the digitization of agriculture and the provision of innovation advice in the field.