Interview with
Work Package 2 Leader 

Milica Trajkovic

Trial Management

What is, in your opinion, the most important legacy of IoF2020?

After four intensive years, 33 Use Cases enriched the European market with more than 33 solutions for the agriculture of the future. The IoF2020 portfolio covers a broad range of solutions.  From remote sensor calibration in dairy farming, traceability mechanisms optimized for vegetable supply chain, to precision arable crop management. All these solutions improved the competitiveness of the European market in the field of IoT for the agri-food domain. The importance of the sector is further highlighted by many follow-up projects and initiatives based on the work of the Use Cases.

Additionally, IoF2020 generated a pool of reusable components. This resulted in cross-sectoral and cross-border impact, accelerating further IoT developments and widening the market. It reached out to many European farmers, boosting their adoption of IoT solutions and changing their daily lives. The awareness raising activities, including more than 100 demonstrations Europe-wide, opened the door of the farming community to the application of IoT technologies in everyday business. IoF2020 paved the way for many other initiatives aiming to modernize and improve the agricultural sector.

Besides being a market game-changer, IoF2020 leaves a solid foundation for further scientific research and knowledge discovery.

Looking back on your participation to IoF2020, what were some of the challenges that your work package encountered?

Considering that the focus of IoF2020 project is on agriculture, the biggest challenge was to adjust and harmonize project activities with the agricultural seasons. We had to deal with unpredictable weather conditions. There were 33 Use Cases involved in 5 different farming sectors involved each with different schedule and sensitivity to external factors. The consolidation between the tasks and on-field work could be difficult. Luckily, a solid organization, flexible yet firm procedures, and an open-minded monitoring team successfully led the Use Cases on their journey. The obstacle that could not be ignored is certainly the COVID-19 pandemic. Its negative consequences including lock down, the inability to work on the field and high risk of physical contacts. All led to the  postponement of many activities. Adequate anticipation and timely mitigation measures allowed us to cope with this “new normality”. But more importantly, the Use Cases perceived this as a great chance to improve their solutions to address new requirements and, consequently, new markets.  

What would be your recommendations to young farmers who are hesitating to join such projects/use such technologies?  

The implementation of new technologies in agriculture and agri-food sector is inevitable in the near future. This is can be observed not only by the numerous private investments in this sector, but also by new regulations and strategic goals set by many governments. 

Together with the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, the new Horizon Europe scheme will provide a fruitful playground for research and innovation. This €100 billion research and innovation program aims at building a climate-neutral, greener, and fairer Europe. Agriculture has a crucial impact in achieving these objectives. And the role of farmers and farming communities in the upcoming years is undeniable. Besides Horizon Europe, there will be many other opportunities to reinforce the farming sector throughout Europe. These will see farming community as enablers and drivers of the change.

IoF2020 and many other projects are proof of the real impact and benefit that technology can bring to farmers. It is an exciting journey, which create technical solutions that fit perfectly to your farming practices. They improve the quality and quantity of your production, while reducing its environmental footprint.

Do not miss this chance to position yourself on the new market! The market itself is evolving, and the requirements are changing. This is a unique opportunity to position yourself in a timely manner.