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Innovation in EU agriculture

At a Glance 02-06-2016

The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament has adopted an own-initiative report aimed at encouraging the Commission to support agricultural innovation, which is considered necessary in order to increase both the productivity and sustainability of the sector.

An own-initiative report on technological solutions for sustainable agriculture is due to be debated and voted at the June I plenary session. In the context of climate change, rising food demand resulting from global population growth and threats to the environment, the report suggests that innovation in agricultural technology is key to meeting some of the biggest challenges faced by farming today.

Known as Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), drones have become increasingly present due to a sharp drop in production costs, as a consequence of recent innovations in light-weight materials, on-board computers, batteries and fuel tanks. Since their inception, drones have been developed for military purposes, with the inclusion of weapons in them, as well as for surveillance and policing efforts. Recently, however, other uses have proliferated, in the fields of ...

Precision Agriculture (PA) is a whole-farm management approach using information technology, satellite positioning (GNSS) data, remote sensing and proximal data gathering. These technologies have the goal of optimising returns on inputs whilst potentially reducing environmental impacts. The state-of-the-art of PA on arable land, permanent crops and within dairy farming are reviewed, mainly in the European context, together with some economic aspects of the adoption of PA. Options to address PA adoption ...

Modified (GM) crops are increasingly grown in developing countries and can lead to socioeconomic benefits and costs depending on where and how they are adopted. After examining conventional assessments of farm-level indicators such as: yield increase, pesticide costs, farmers' incomes from GM crops, the paper goes on to argue that a variety of structural issues at the national and international level have to be considered in order to obtain a comprehensive picture on the potential which GM crops ...