In support of the Green Deal, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and farm to fork objectives and targets, the successful proposal will focus on advisor exchanges across the EU to increase the speed of knowledge creation and sharing, capacity building, of demonstration of innovative solutions, as well as helping to bring them into practice, which accelerates the needed transitions. Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) in which advisors are fully integrated are key drivers to speed up innovation and the uptake of research results by farmers.
Transformative changes such as the ones required within the Green Deal are dynamic processes that require appropriate governance of AKIS actors. Advisors are key actors strongly guiding and with a big influence over producers’ decisions. A novelty in the post- 2020 CAP plans is that advisors now must be integrated within the Member States’ AKIS, and that the scope of their actions has become much broader. They must now be able to cover economic, environmental and social domains, as well as be informed on up-to-date science and technology. They should be able to translate this knowledge into opportunities, and use and adapt those to specific local circumstances. This specific topic focuses on the important role advisors can play related to climate change effects on water shortage, water pollution and avoiding salty soils, a quickly upcoming issue in the more sustainable agriculture of the future.
Project results are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:
- The most urgent policy objectives linked to Cluster 6, as well as the European Green Deal, and in particular the Farm to Fork Strategy and the CAP, with a view to increase farmer viability, help raise awareness and tackle societal challenges in helping the reduction of water pollution and use;
- The CAP cross-cutting objective of modernising the sector by fostering and sharing of knowledge, innovation and digitalisation in agriculture and rural areas, and encouraging their uptake . This topic will help to fill gaps on emerging advisory topics beyond the classical sectorial advice, which is useful in particular in relation with the new obligation for Member States to integrate advisors within their AKIS which must cover a much broader scope than in the former period. It will provide overall support related to knowledge creation, organisation and sharing.
- Development of interaction with regional policy makers and of a potential EU network to discuss institutional barriers to practical water-related issues, such as bottlenecks, lock-ins, political inertia, ambiguous regulations, inequality between Member States and power imbalances;
- Production of supporting services and materials to facilitate the upscaling of prevention of water shortage and pollution, such as water audit schemes, novel water retention practices, water knowledge networks and peer-to-peer counselling, master classes, advice modules, communication and education materials, effective business models for farm management on dry soils, etc
- The outcomes should speed up introduction, spreading and bringing into practice of innovative solutions related to avoiding water shortage and pollution overall, in particular by:
- creating added value by better linking research, education, advisors and farming practice and encouraging the wider use of available knowledge across the EU;
- learning from innovation actors and projects, resulting in faster sharing and implementation of ready-to-use innovative solutions, spreading them into practice and communicating to the scientific community the bottom-up research needs of practice.
Proposals should address the following activities:
- Connect advisors having a broad and extensive network of farmers across all EU Member States in an EU advisory network dedicated to water use, including avoiding water shortage and pollution, with a view to sharing experiences on how to best tackle the issues, building on the outcomes of the EIP-AGRI “Focus Group on Water and Agriculture”, the EIP-AGRI Workshop: “Connecting innovative projects: Water & Agriculture”, and the H2020 “Thematic network to improve water management”
- Share effective and novel approaches among the EU advisory network on water use, which are sustainable in terms of economic, environmental and social aspects.
- Take strong account of cost-benefit elements. Collect and document good examples in this regard, connecting with farmers, intermediates and consumers in Member States to be able to take into account financial aspects and local conditions. Select the best practices, learn about the key success factors, possible quick wins and make them available for (local) exploitation, to ensure financial win-wins for producers, citizens and water companies.
- Integrate the advisors of the EU water use network into their Member State AKIS as much as possible. They should encourage as innovation brokers innovative projects on water use solutions in European innovation partnership "Agricultural productivity and sustainability" (EIP-AGRI) Operational Groups. They should give hands-on training to farmers and local advisors, lead national thematic and learning networks on the subject, deliver and implement action plans to make water use more efficient, reduce farmers’ water use and pollution, inspire new and incoming farmers or farms at the cross-roads of intergenerational renewal, connect with education and ensure broad communication, support peer-to-peer consulting, develop on-farm demonstrations and YouTube demo films, and provide specific back-office support for generalist advisors within the national / regional AKIS.
- Explore if the activities of the EU advisory network on water use can be up scaled at the level of a number of Member States under a cooperative format. Wherever possible, develop digital advisory tools for common use across the EU. Seek if common tools can be created to incentivise the implementation of the learnings from this project.
- Include all 27 EU Member States in the EU advisory network, using local AKIS connections which can more accurately interpret the national/regional contexts to help develop the best solutions for that Member State or region. Use the support of the Member States’ knowledge and innovation experts of the SCAR-AKIS Strategic Working Group to discuss project strategy and progress in the various stages of the 2 projects. Projects should run at least 5 years. They must implement the multi-actor approach.
- Provide all outcomes and materials to the EIP-AGRI, including in the common 'practice abstract' format for EU wide dissemination, as well as to national / regional / local AKIS channels and to the EU-wide interactive knowledge reservoir (HORIZON-CL6-2021-GOVERNANCE-01-24) in the requested formats.
Art 13(2) of the post 2020 CAP regulation
Art 5 CAP post 2020 proposal