Foreword newsletter #4

Louis Mahy

Research Programme Officer & Co-Project Officer for IoF2020 DG Agriculture and Rural Development – European Commission

As the claims about the potential of digital applications in agriculture are very ambitious, words like “digital”, “digitisation” (or digitalisation if you like to play word games) are in every debate or document in Brussels. Indeed, digital technologies can play the role of facilitator in making agriculture greener, fairer, more attractive for young farmers, etc. It is a bit like “innovation”: it comes with big expectations for the future and is very popular in the on-going policy debates, but it also puts a lot of responsibility on

the innovators.

Considering the on-going attention and the increase in investments, IoF2020 started of quite early. The topic was “already” included in the 2016 Work Programme. There were a number of very interesting projects before, but nothing of this size and scope. In this perspective, IoF2020 is a tipping point; it is the first of a series of strategic investments in Agriculture 4.0, where we expect to see the materialisation of all these expectations.

Much more will come, but it is up to the people in and around IoF2020 to show whether the “digital words” from Brussels can change the world.