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Study on the long-term implications of the digital transition for EU farmers and rural communities

This video introduces the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) study, undertaken in collaboration with agricultural stakeholders, exploring the implications of integrating digital technologies in farming to address contemporary and foreseen challenges.

Study on the long-term implications of the digital transition for EU farmers and rural communities

The European Broadband Competence Offices Network Support Facility

By studying how digital innovation, resilience and agricultural policies interact, the Commission aims to support policy makers, rural communities and farmers towards a more sustainable future.

Digital transition unfolds in a transformative and disruptive environment. Agriculture and rural areas face a variety of challenges, such as climate change, environmental degradation, geopolitical instability, changing supply networks and evolving consumer demand. These challenges can shape a multitude of futures.

- JRC Study: ‘Digital transition: long-term implications for EU farmers and rural communities

Digital innovation and technology can offer promising solutions to the challenges faced by Europe’s farmers, speeding up the transition to more sustainable and resilient farming practices, as explained by Pierluigi Londero, Head of Unit for Data Governance at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI), in this video. Digital technologies can help enhance productivity, optimise the use of resources, and reduce environmental impact, fostering a more resilient agricultural sector.

To understand the impacts and implications of digitalisation and agricultural policies on rural communities and farmers, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and DG AGRI conducted the foresight study, ‘Digital transition: long-term implications for EU farmers and rural communities’.

In this video, JRC EU Policy Lab Policy Analysts, Yulia Barabanova and Maciej Krzysztofowicz, outline the approach taken, highlighting the study’s exploration of scenarios and “transformative futures”, examining both existing challenges in agriculture and potential disruptive elements, and underscoring the need to envision future agricultural landscapes and devise solutions to tackle diverse circumstances.

One of the key considerations in the study is the resilience of digital technologies in adverse conditions, such as satellite loss or extreme weather events. By anticipating such challenges, policy makers can better prepare strategies to support farmers and rural communities during crises.

The study also provides a valuable ‘Toolkit for digital transition strategies at EU/national/local levels’ to support policy makers, recognising that “digital transition of agriculture and rural areas is a complex and context-specific process that requires tailored solutions which take into account local needs, resources and challenges”. The toolkit enables stakeholders to work together to identify barriers, enablers and opportunities for digital innovation in farming. With regard to this, Patrick Barrett, from the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, highlights the importance of collaboration and stakeholder engagement in developing effective digitalisation strategies for the agricultural sector, while Eline de Regt, from the Belgian Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, notes the value of the toolkit’s identification of actors, connections and potential barriers to digitalisation.

While digital technologies hold the potential to revolutionise European agriculture and accelerate the green transition, the long-term implications of these potential disruptive and transformative changes must be evaluated and understood for EU regions to develop localised, effective digital transition strategies for agriculture and rural areas. The findings of this study and the toolkit it provides will help policy makers and stakeholders, through collaboration and knowledge-sharing, to develop tailored solutions to address the diverse challenges and opportunities in the agricultural sector, paving the way for a more sustainable and resilient future.

This video was filmed as part of the European Broadband Competence Offices (BCO) Network’s work to raise awareness of EU support for high-speed broadband deployment and share good practices in broadband projects. Discover more interviews in the BCO Network YouTube playlist and more broadband good practices, news and resources in the BCO Network Library.


The European Broadband Competence Offices Network Support Facility