A future where Agricultural Digital Solutions (ADSs) are not just accessible but finely tuned to the specific needs of small farms is closer than you think.
Farmtopia envisions a future where Agricultural Digital Solutions (ADSs) are easily accessible and tailored, covering their development, deployment, and affordability. To achieve this, the project is launching 18 Sustainable Innovation Pilots (SIPs), with 9 pre-selected and 9 open for discovery through an upcoming Open Call. These pilots focus on crops and livestock currently underserved by ADSs, giving priority to regional significance.
SIP 1/ Ensuring the Sustainability of Organic Avocado Cultivation
SIP 1, led by NEUROPUBLIC, focuses on organic avocado and fruit. Utilizing Farmtopia software modules to enhance the gaiasense Smart Farming solution, SIP1 provides low-cost, high-quality advice on irrigation and fertilization. This is achieved through a regional-wide IoT weather station infrastructure, combining diverse data for accuracy. The controlled exchange of sensor recordings and farm advice among AgriCoop members enhances field actions. SIP 1’s business model involves partnerships with cooperatives, agronomists, and food companies, enabling Neuropulbic to cover infrastructure costs and offer the service as a low-cost annual subscription. Measurable outcomes include a 15% reduction in water consumption, a 10% reduction in fertilizer use, and a 10% cut in production costs.
SIP 2/ Nurturing Smaller Oyster Mushroom Farms
Small and medium-sized oyster mushroom farms, facing financial constraints, encounter the challenge of improving production processes and maximizing yields. SIP 2, focusing on organic mushrooms, aims to address these challenges. It will implement a real-time monitoring solution for crop growth and mushroom yield control, optimizing environmental schedules and production protocols. The user-friendly interface enhances usability, while a wireless sensor network, camera technology, advanced analytics, visual dashboards, and AI provide decision support. The business model revolves around offering affordable integrated solutions tailored for small farms through Software as a Service (SaaS). SIP2 aims to achieve measurable results, including a ≥15% reduction in production costs, a ≥10% decrease in energy consumption, and a ≥10% increase in profitability.
SIP 3/ Navigating Small-Scale Dairy Farming with Limited Resources
SIP 3 addresses the challenges faced by small-scale dairy goat and sheep farms. The digital solution focuses on feed and animal health management using sensors, a 3G network, a dashboard, and decision support algorithms. Tailored for small farms, the modular business and governance model emphasizes data ownership and sharing. SIP 3 aims for international partnerships and targets a 10%–30% reduction in methane production, nitrogen wastage, and an increase in profitability for small-scale farmers.
SIP 4/ Nurturing Hemp’s Potential for a Sustainable Future
Precision in cultivating hemp, balancing sunlight, nutrients, and water, reduces costs and boosts productivity. Small-scale farms face financial challenges, and traditional soil sampling is time-consuming and expensive. Digital technologies like UAVs and AI can cut costs and provide valuable data. SIP 4’s business model aims to offer a cost-effective alternative, targeting a growing market and helping farmers meet requirements. Governance considerations include data ownership and sharing. SIP 4 anticipates measurable results: a 40-60% reduction in irrigation costs, ≥15% less use of fertilizers/pesticides, and a ≥8% increase in productivity.
SIP 5/ Arable Farming as Smart as It Can Be
SIP 5 enhances the Farm Manager app for farming advisors, creating a sophisticated SF/DSS solution under the My Farm module to optimize fertilization, pesticide use, and harvest planning. Using digital technologies like Sentinel EO, UAVs, IoT weather stations, and soil sensors, SIP 5 aims to improve sustainability and efficiency, leveraging freely available data sources. The business model, centered around the IAF’s Farm Manager app, is offered to farmers for free or through advantageous commercial arrangements. Governance focuses on data exchange, farm data ownership, and benchmarking. Measurable results include 25 targeted fertilizations, a potential ≥25% reduction in fertilizer use, and a potential ≥10% reduction in production costs.
SIP 6/ Ensuring Sustainable Carrot/Vegetable Farming
SIP 6 focuses on digitizing agriculture for sustainable development, addressing the challenges faced by small, fragmented farms. Focusing on carrot/vegetable production and led by Agricolus, the SIP will provide hi-tech services to three carrot farms in Italy, enhancing precision farming through a comprehensive SaaS cloud platform and mobile app. The goal is to digitize on-field activities, reducing water and fertilizer consumption, and cutting production costs by at least 15%. SIP 6 adopts a modular business model with subscription fees for selected services, offering flexibility and tailored packages. Governance considerations include data ownership, control, sharing rules, and power dynamics. The initiative aims for tangible results in water and fertilizer reduction and production cost savings.
SIP7/ Empowering Small Farms for Sustainable Meat and Milk Production
SIP 7 addresses non-compliance with animal welfare regulations on small farms, aiming to increase meat and milk production while minimizing health risks. Focusing on dairy farms, the initiative integrates real-time animal welfare monitoring and control systems into existing practices, offering affordable SaaS with easy maintenance. Agricultural Digital Solutions (ADSs) will be customizable to varying digital literacy levels among farmers, leveraging IoT sensors, digital ear tags, a decision support system, and a user platform. The business model emphasizes affordable SaaS structures, aligning with EU regulations on animal diseases, welfare, and transportation. Governance considerations involve data sharing and co-ownership rules with SmartRDI. SIP 7 aims for measurable results, including a 10% increase in milk production through reduced environmental stress and a 5% boost in meat production by mitigating thermal stress during animal transport to slaughterhouses.
SIP8/ Reducing Herbicides and Empowering Farmers
The European Green Deal’s bold vision: Cutting herbicide use by 50% by 2030. SIP 8 focuses on maize and wheat leveraging Agricultural Digital Solutions (ADSs) for affordable upgrades to existing sprayers, featuring automatic weed detection and targeted spraying using advanced technologies. The plan integrates AI, RGB and hyperspectral sensors for real-time solutions, reducing herbicide use by 30% without compromising yields. SIP8’s business model offers a cost-effective alternative for contractors, CUMA, and agriCooperatives, emphasizing local weeding services. The governance model addresses legal barriers, data ownership, and IP collaboration. Measurable results include a 30% reduction in the herbicide treatment frequency index and input cost reduction, with a stable net margin (≥0%).
SIP 9/ Bridging Access to Agricultural Digital Solutions for Small Farms
EU farmers, particularly those in small and medium-sized farms, face low adoption rates of Agricultural Digital Solutions (ADS) due to high costs and skepticism about their benefits. Building trust and increasing digital literacy among smallholders are crucial. SIP 9 focuses on arable and fruit/field and fodder crops and grapes, and aims to make ADS more accessible to small farms through a dedicated web platform, enabling equipment and information sharing. The business model centers on cooperative equipment purchase (CUMA) using the “my CumaLink” platform, with expenses covered by farmers. Governance focuses on power relations, data control, and technology regulations. Anticipated results include over 225,000 farmers accessing ADS via the enhanced platform and guidelines for replicating the CUMA model in at least two new countries.
In summary, the Farmtopia Sustainable Innovation Pilots (SIPs) offer a comprehensive and forward-thinking strategy to address agricultural challenges using Agricultural Digital Solutions (ADSs). Whether enhancing avocado cultivation or reducing herbicides for wheat and maize, each SIP showcases a commitment to innovative and sustainable farming practices. By targeting underserved areas and crops, Farmtopia aims to make ADSs not only accessible but also tailored to the unique needs of small and medium-sized farms. The business and governance models prioritize collaboration, affordability, and data ownership, contributing to a holistic approach to agricultural development. As these SIPs progress, the expected measurable outcomes highlight the potential for significant positive impacts on resource efficiency, production costs, and overall farm profitability. Farmtopia’s vision aligns with the evolving agricultural landscape, illustrating the transformative role of digital technologies in creating a more sustainable and resilient future for farming.
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