June 15, 2021

#EU40Talks: Is ‘innovation’ just a buzzword?

On June 14th, 2021, the EU40 – Network of Young MEPs organised a virtual discussion on the topic of Innovation in the Foodchain. This was the second successful #EU40Talks of the week under the umbrella of challenges and opportunities within the agricultural sector (the first one being our New Breeding Techniques discussion). 

This particular virtual conversation brought together knowledgeable domain specialists who spoke at length about whether existing EU agricultural policies and funding mechanisms are enough to maintain a sustainable agri-food dchain. 

The panel included the European Commission‘s Nathalie Sauze-Vandevyver, Director, DG AGRI – Quality, Research and Innovation, Outreach; Martijn Buijsse, Founder of farmUP Netherlands; and Garlich von Essen, representative of the Agri-Food Chain Coalition (AFCC). 

Are EU targets – especially climate related – too ambitious? Do they mean anything if tools and mechanisms aren’t implemented? It was noted that there should be integrated approaches to infrastructure and the extension of digitalisation networks, even in agriculture. 

The conversation also touched upon existing Horizon 2020 strategies and the already noticeable results on the input of Research and Innovation (R&I)  in agriculture. Innovation extends far beyond just the ‘hi-tech’ – it includes nature-based solutions, new business models, as well as systemic and global approaches.

Some other takeaways from the discussion included the challenges still being faced by those in the field (no pun intended), who are directly affected by any risks undertaken – investments made by farmers and the agricultural sector must be worth the policy demands. 

Listen to the full #EUTalks session below!