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European farmers and policymakers in joint support of agricultural innovation

Farming machinery (c) James Hutton Institute
“This information has really been useful in our discussions regarding comparison of agricultural knowledge systems in different countries.”

Policy can support innovation in European agriculture, but policies should be tailored to existing structures and societal priorities, build on evaluation of advisory services and agricultural knowledge systems, and recognise the role of public involvement and funding in advisory services. These are some of the policy recommendations of the PRO AKIS project, a study of agricultural advisory services in Europe carried out by an international consortium including the James Hutton Institute.

Recommendations of PRO AKIS - which stands for “Prospects for Farmers' Support: Advisory Services in European Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems” – also highlight other aspects such as the necessity to take a longer term perspective, the importance of certification schemes for agricultural advisors, and the role that rural innovation networks can play in complementing advisory services.

Recommendations are targeted at both European level and national level policy makers. In Member States where regions are responsible for agricultural advisory services, research and education, the report’s advice also applies to regional level policy makers.

The recommendations are based on empirical findings, and were discussed and refined in exchange with stakeholders and policy makers throughout the project. Means for exchange included a total of three workshops and three synthesis seminars in different European locations.

Throughout its life, the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research AKIS Working Group continuously influenced the design of the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-Agriculture), and PRO AKIS contributed to shaping the discourse on agricultural advisory services.

Emmanuel Grosjean, coordinator of the Belgian College of Producers, in charge of advising farmers on access to publicly supported research and advisory services, said: “This information has really been useful in our discussion with the Walloon government, regarding comparison of agricultural knowledge systems in different countries.”

The organisations represented on the advisory boards included EUFRAS and GFRAS, IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), COPA-COGECA (European Farmers and Agri-Cooperatives), German Chambers for Agriculture (Lower Saxony, Verband der Landwirtschaftskammern), Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW, Europe Area) BAG Familie und Betrieb (Agricultural Extension for Family Farming), French Network of Technical Institutes (ACTA) and the European Joint Research Center (JRC) and independent experts.

The recommendations can be accessed from the PRO AKIS final report available at the project website.

Notes to editors:

About the PRO AKIS project: Farmers throughout Europe are facing changing political conditions and a strong pressure from markets and citizens to adjust and to innovate. They need timely access to knowledge and information, to training and education and to facilitating and support services. PRO AKIS is a European Commission-funded research and action project that investigates agricultural advisory services within the context of Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems (AKIS). The project aims to answer the question: How and from what sources can farmers get reliable and relevant knowledge, orientation and support to continuously evolve, to successfully solve problems and to respond to external expectations and development opportunities? For more information visit the project website.

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Printed from /news/european-farmers-and-policymakers-joint-support-agricultural-innovation on 24/02/24 12:50:59 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.