Resource: Information

gaiatron agrometeorological stations

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gaiasense provides valuable information by recording, analyzing and interpreting atmospheric and soil data at specific points within the fields every passing moment, continuously.

These data are collected from agrometeorological stations, which are installed in selected points of selected plots of land to be representative for each crop of an entire area.

The stations are manufactured, installed and operated by gaiasense, without any financial burden to the cooperating producers or agricultural advisors. They have been designed and developed specifically to meet the needs of gaiasense services and are part of an extensive nationwide network of measuring environmental parameters.

The agrometeorological stations of gaiasense are installed in various regions of Greece – from Evros to Crete – and abroad, collecting a huge amount of atmospheric and soil data, which are used to optimize agricultural production through smart agricultural advice.

In this way, a complete technological system of continuous monitoring of the environmental parameters affecting the crops is created.

The data collected by the stations concern atmospheric, soil and biological parameters, such as air and soil temperature, relative air and soil humidity, soil salinity, leaf wetness, precipitation, solar radiation, etc.

The information of the gaiasense is combined with the information collected by the system and is used to accurately calculate the plant’s need for water, to identify the appropriate time for watering, to continuously assess the risk of plant attack by pests and diseases, to monitor the vitality of plants, in their rational nutrition and in the timely qualitative and quantitative prediction of production.

Development of telemetric stations

NEUROPUBLIC, which has developed and supports the gaiasense smart farming system, has a modern laboratory within the Embedded Systems / IoT (Embedded / IoT R&D) department.

Combining highly skilled manpower with years of electronics development experience and state-of-the-art equipment, the company’s lab offers a flexible and powerful incubator for IoT solutions in the agricultural sector.

NEUROPUBLIC designs and develops the entire IoT infrastructure for the gaiasense system: all the systems that make up the telemetric agrometeorological stations (in terms of hardware, firmware and software), the systems/platforms for real-time data acquisition, relaying, collection and ensuring the accuracy and validity of all indications, as well as their interconnection and communication (IP, m2m protocols).

IoT infrastructure

NEUROPUBLIC has developed the first and only large-scale Internet of Things infrastructure in Greece, with thousands of self-designed and manufactured wireless sensors installed on agricultural land as part of the gaiasense smart farming system.
At the same time, the agrometeorological stations use embedded technology and IP protocol, making it possible, via the Internet, to transmit in real time the data they collect from the field and concern atmospheric, terrestrial and biological parameters.

Each of the agrometeorological stations is equipped with several dozens of sensors that measure environmental (atmospheric and soil) parameters at multiple points.
At regular intervals, a large volume of automatic measurements is collected on the special IoT platform in the company’s cloud infrastructure. There, this data is combined with satellite data and other types of data, and feeds into decision support systems that give advice and guidance to agronomists and farmers on day-to-day farming operations.

The new CAP (Common Agricultural Policy): Goals, activities and benefits

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The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was first created in 1962 by the six founding countries of the EU and is its longest-running policy. Essentially, it is a set of laws established by the EU that constitute a common, unified agricultural policy, aiming at:

  • providing safe food at affordable prices to EU citizens;
  • ensuring the fair standard of living of farmers;
  • conserving natural resources and protect the environment.

The CAP is a dynamic policy which, through successive reforms, has adapted to the new challenges facing European agricultural production. The EU created and implements the CAP to address various issues such as:

  • food security for all European citizens;
  • global market fluctuations and price volatility;
  • maintaining thriving rural areas across the EU;
  • more sustainable and rational use of natural resources;
  • limiting climate change.

Following the three-year dialogue between the Council of Ministers, the European Commission and the European Parliament, an agreement was reached on the CAP for the period 2023-2027 at the end of June 2021. This new CAP aims to support and strengthen a sustainable and competitive agricultural sector, which will can make a significant contribution to the European Green Deal.

According to the European Parliament, €386.6 billion will be allocated to the new CAP between 2021 and 2027, an amount that represents 31.95% of the EU’s long-term budget.

The CAP in action

the new operating model of the CAP for the period 2023-2027 focuses, among other things, on maximizing its contribution to protecting the environment and tackling climate change by setting ambitious environmental and climate targets, as well as promoting innovation, knowledge and of new technologies (digitalization) in agricultural production. The new CAP aims at an intelligent and sustainable agriculture, the strengthening of care for the environment and the climate and the strengthening of the socio-economic fabric of rural areas.

For the four-year period 2023-2027, the CAP is structured around ten key objectives, which will form the basis on which EU countries will draw up their individual strategic plans. These goals are:

  • ensuring a fair income for farmers;
  • increasing competitiveness;
  • the balance of power in the food chain;
  • action on climate change;
  • environmental protection;
  • the preservation of landscapes and biodiversity;
  • the encouragement of generational renewal;
  • the stimulation of rural areas;
  • the protection of food safety and quality;
  • the modernization of the agricultural sector by promoting and disseminating knowledge, innovation and
  • digitalisation, in agriculture and rural areas, and encouraging their adoption.


Goals and objectives

The new CAP was designed to be fairer, greener, more animal-friendly and more flexible than ever before. From January 2023, when it comes into effect, greater ambitions for the environment and climate, aligned with the goals of the European Green Deal, are to be implemented.

The new CAP will also ensure a fairer distribution of support, especially towards small and medium-sized family farms and young farmers.

Fairer for everyone

  • For the first time, the CAP will include social conditionality, meaning that its beneficiaries will have to respect elements of European social and labor law in order to receive CAP funds.
  • Redistribution of income support will be mandatory. Member States will redistribute at least 10% in favor of smaller farms and must describe in their strategic plan how they intend to do this. In fact, support to small farms will be strengthened with the possibility of replacing individual direct payments by a single allowance for small farmers.
  • A new mandatory minimum level of support for young farmers will be set in Member States’ budgets for income support in the context of CAP, reaching 3% for young farmers (up to 40 years of age). This could include income support, investment aid or start-up aid for young farmers.


Greener and more sustainable

The new CAP will support the transition to more sustainable agricultural production with increased ambitions for climate, environment and animal welfare. It also introduces new “tools”, which, combined with the new way of working, will allow more efficient and targeted performance in the above areas. Specifically:

  • Coherence with the European Green Deal: The new CAP will fully integrate EU environmental and climate legislation. CAP plans will contribute to the objectives of the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Biodiversity Strategy, while updating to take into account changes in climate and environmental legislation from the European Green Deal.
  • Provision of conditional support: the minimum requirements that CAP beneficiaries have to comply with in order to receive support are now more ambitious. For example, in each agricultural holding at least 3% of arable land will be reserved for biodiversity and non-productive elements, with the possibility of receiving support through ecological programs to reach a percentage of 7%. Furthermore, all wetlands and peatlands will be protected.
  • The offer of ecological programs will be mandatory for member states. This new instrument will reward farmers for implementing climate and environment-friendly practices (organic farming, agroecology, integrated plant protection, etc.), as well as for improvements in animal welfare. Member States must allocate at least 25% of their budget for income support to ecological programs, totaling €48 billion from the direct aid budget.
  • At least 35% of rural development funds will be allocated to commitments that promote environmental, climate and animal welfare practices.
  • The CAP budget should make a significant contribution to the Union’s overall climate spending. For a realistic and fair calculation, the Commission will propose by 2025 a new, differentiated approach, which will go beyond existing methods.


More flexible

The new CAP introduces a new way of working, based on which each country will be free to choose the specific interventions it considers most effective for the fulfillment of its goals and following the assessment of its own needs. Thus, Greece will draw up its own strategic plan, in which it will determine how it will direct resources to specific actions and specify how these actions will contribute to the achievement of EU objectives. This plan will be submitted to the EU for evaluation and approval before its implementation. Following approval, an annual performance report will be submitted to demonstrate progress towards the objectives set.

The main objective of the new CAP is to strengthen the position of farmers in a competitive agri-food sector. The new CAP maintains a general market orientation, with EU farms operating in line with market signals while taking advantage of non-EU opportunities arising from trade. In addition, it strengthens the position of farmers in the food chain by expanding their possibilities to join forces through, among other things, certain exemptions from competition law. At the same time, a new agricultural reserve will be established to finance market support measures in times of crisis, with an annual budget of at least €450 million.

What is an “active farmer”;

The new legislation includes a mandatory but flexible definition of an active farmer:

  • Minimum level of agricultural activity. This will be based on objective and unbiased criteria such as income test (eg comparing agricultural income with income from other economic activities), labor input, corporate object and registration;
  • List of ineligible economic activities. EU countries can draw up a list of economic activities that may not receive direct support from the CAP;
  • Multi-active and part-time farmers. EU countries should ensure that multi-taskers (farmers who also carry out other professional activities) and part-time farmers are not excluded from support;
  • Reduction of administrative burden. EU countries can assume that farmers receiving direct payments of up to €5,000 are considered active farmers.


The pillars of CAP

The CAP covers three different areas: direct payments, market measures and rural development, and is based on two pillars. Analytically:

Direct Aids – First pillar

Direct payments are granted directly to farmers, providing them with a safety net. The CAP guarantees EU citizens a reliable supply of high-quality food, as well as a healthy environment. Direct aid ensures that:

  • Farmers receive income support as long as they look after their farm and meet environmental standards, as well as food safety and animal welfare standards;
  • EU member states maintain agricultural activities, adapted to their climatic and geographical conditions,
    producers respond to market signals to produce the goods that consumers demand, thus ensuring the maximum possible profit;
  • Farmers who do not comply with certain requirements in the areas of public health, animal and plant health, the environment and animal welfare may receive less or no support.

Market measures – First pillar

In order to compensate for price volatility in EU agricultural markets, certain rules have been put in place. The common organization of agricultural markets (CMO) includes:

  • the use of the rules for the common market of goods and services, the creation of specific policy instruments to improve the functioning of rural markets,
  • the establishment of intervention parameters in agricultural markets and the provision of sectoral support,
  • the establishment of marketing rules for agricultural products and the operation of producer organizations and inter-professional organizations
  • issues related to international trade and competition rules.

Το οικονομικό περιβάλλον θα συνεχίσει να είναι αβέβαιο και απρόβλεπτο. Τα σημερινά και τα μελλοντικά προβλήματα είναι πολλά. Παρόλα αυτά, η ΚΟΑ διευκολύνει την ομαλή λειτουργία της ενιαίας αγοράς, ενώ, με δυο λόγια, εξασφαλίζει πολυμορφία, διαθεσιμότητα, προσιτές τιμές και ασφάλεια των αγροτικών προϊόντων της.

Rural development – Second pillar

EU measures for rural development contribute to:

  • the modernization of agricultural holdings, promoting the utilization of technology and innovation;
  • boosting rural areas, for example through investment in connectivity and basic services;
  • strengthening the competitiveness of the agricultural sector;
  • in protecting the environment and mitigating climate change;
  • in improving the vitality of rural communities;
  • ensuring the renewal of generations in the agricultural sector.

Predominantly rural areas make up half of Europe and are home to around 20% of the EU’s population. Also, most of them are among the least favored regions of the EU, with GDP per capita significantly below the European average.

EU measures facilitate the modernization of agricultural holdings while encouraging the diversification of activities in rural areas. To this end, the EU’s rural development policy has set three general objectives:

  • Strengthening the competitiveness of agriculture;
  • Sustainable management of natural resources and climate action;
  • Balanced territorial development of rural areas.

Rural development policy is a very important means of supporting the sustainable development of rural areas and agriculture, including organic agriculture, in the EU.

Smart farming

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The European context

It is a fact that climate change and the degradation of the environment are a reality that seriously concerns the states of Europe and the rest of the world. In this context, the European Union intends to address these challenges through the European Green Deal, which aspires over time to transform not only the economy but also society itself.

Specifically, with regard to the agri-food sector, the EU proposes the implementation of a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with an environmental label and purpose not only to protect citizens, animals and the environment, security of supply, nutrition and quality, but also the transition to a sustainable food system that will deliver environmental, health and social benefits, while offering a fairer economic benefit.

The Green Deal is moving towards a modern, innovative and sustainable production model. The goal is to make production management more environmentally friendly and more rational in terms of natural resources (soil, water). At the same time, unnecessary cultivation interventions in crop protection and nutrition (fertilization) will be avoided. The use of pesticides and fertilizers will be reduced, so that only the necessary chemical interventions are carried out as and when deemed necessary. It is characteristic that the new EU targets envisage a reduction in the use of pesticides by 50% and synthetic fertilizers by 20% by 2030.

The response to the challenges of the Green Deal

The answer to the challenge of the green transformation of society and, in particular, of agricultural production clearly goes through digitization; that is why the EU connects the two concepts through a series of actions aimed at mobilizing governments, businesses, but also the producers themselves.

Consequently, it is clear that the role of smart farming is pivotal and a one-way street for agricultural production, as it goes hand in hand with the transition to the digital age. Smart farming uses modern technologies and scientific knowledge in such a way as to help the farmer make better decisions about his production.

In fact, its application on farms helps to reduce costs and unnecessary losses of resources, reduces the impact of agriculture on the environment and climate, improves productivity and competitiveness and increases the quality of products while at the same time guaranteeing their safety. In two words, it has a significant economic and environmental benefit for Greek – and not only – farmers.

What is smart farming

Smart agriculture is an integrated approach to managing agricultural activity. It can bring a significant reduction in costs as well as a great qualitative and quantitative improvement in agricultural production.
Intelligent farming systems like gaiasense are based on the collection and processing of digital data related to the soil, water, atmosphere and plants of each crop. Thus, by combining many different sources of data collection and in combination with scientific information, they can reliably and accurately advise all those involved in the primary sector.

Digital solutions such as smart agriculture not only have the potential to contribute to the sustainability of agricultural systems from an economic, social and environmental point of view, but can also contribute to the fight against climate change.

Simply put, smart agriculture leverages modern technologies and scientific knowledge in a way that allows the farmer to make better production decisions, benefiting both his pocket and the environment.

Transition to smart farming: The benefits for the farmer

Smart farming systems, such as gaiasense, have been successfully applied in recent years and are constantly being developed for different crops and regions not only in Greece, but also in the EU, since, after all, they are a recognized innovation and good practice in the context of the efforts made to European level for the digital transformation of the primary sector.

The transition to smart farming helps to boost agricultural income by reducing production costs, managing risks more effectively, increasing productivity and quality, and reducing the environmental-climate footprint of production.

Thanks to smart farming, the producer knows on a constant basis and in real time the needs of his crop, i.e. he knows at all times how much, when and what his production needs and thus the decisions he makes are more correct and accurate without unnecessary interventions. Result; Economy, but also more and better products with added value and higher remuneration than the market because of their “environmental identity”.