Enabling Farmers for the Digital Age: The role of AKIS (Agricultural Knowledge & Innovation Systems)

CLIENT: EIP-AGRI, European Commission

DELIVERED: Brussels (Belgium), Jürmala (Latvia) & digitally 

Lead facilitation and coordinating programme for two days interactive workshop

Participants in the workshop acknowledged the value of the event. According to a participant, the workshop “gave a thorough understanding of the factors at play as well as providing good contacts”. Overall the audience considered that the activity contributed to “expand the digital agricultural community” while providing “lots of ideas valid for implementing with different actors” in different regional contexts.

EIP-AGRI AKIS Workshop Final Report

THE CHALLENGE 

Today many farmers are already benefiting from digital technologies, but barriers still exist stopping these digital technologies from being used to their full potential. The workshop Enabling farmers to the digital age: the role of AKIS aimed to tackle these barriers, explore and strengthen the role of Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (with a particular focus on advisers and rural networking), supporting the understanding and use of digital technologies at farm level

Latvian Minister of Agriculture Jānis Dūklavs opens EIP-AGRI workshop in Jūrmala

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Antonio Carlos leading the EIP-AGRI workshop facilitation in Jürmala, Latvia

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THE PROCESS

Antonio Carlos Ruiz Soria has led the facilitation of the EIP- AGRI Service Point, European Commission, workshop 'Enabling Farmers for the Digital Age: the Role of the Agriculture, Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) held in Jurmala, Latvia on 26-27 April 2018. 94 delegates from 25 European countries took part in the workshop  representing the most relevant actors of AKIS (Agricultural producers associations & cooperatives Extension & advisory organisations & innovation support services Farmers Industry National or Regional Rural Network Support Units (NRN/RRN SU) + EIP NN/RN Operational Group Other networks and platforms, education, media RDP Programming/Managing Authorities Research organisations European Commission EIP-AGRI Service Point). The main objective was to explore and strengthen the role of AKIS (with a particular focus on advisers and rural networking), supporting the understanding and use of digital technologies at farm level. Objectives:

  • To exchange experiences on how knowledge and innovation can support the digital transformation of agriculture, especially reflecting on the role of advisory services and national and regional rural networks 

  • To identify and share effective tools and methods to communicate digitisation opportunities to farmers

  • To gain insight into how digital technologies can transform AKIS and the opportunities they offer for improved AKIS performance

  • To promote networking among advisers and the other AKIS actors across the EU, to exchange resources and help them make the transition to digital agriculture

The programme of the workshop was designed according to its four main objectives and it included the showcasing of more than 20 inspiring initiatives promoting digitisation of the farming sector. The sessions and presentations were designed to put the participants and their contributions at the core of the event. Most of the workshop was devoted to group work and interactive discussions. On day 1 break-out sessions groups were requested to: identify needs or areas to improve digitisation of AKIS. On day 2 break-out session delegates worked also in groups on creating concrete communication actions -applying storytelling method- to raising awareness of digital tools and projects to dynamize AKIS. delegated worked also in groups using  storytelling method (by Economía Creativa). 

The facilitation of the workshop fully integrated both onsite and online exchange among participants using tools such as  Sli.do (see picture below) and Twitter. Many participants were active on social media uring the event. The conversation was captured in Twitter Moments, providing a nice overview of the two days, see here.

Slido outcome, interactive digital activity with participants during the workshop.

Pictures by EIP-AGRI
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THE OUTCOME

The results from the break-out groups highlighted that digital solutions can benefit AKIS functioning in many different ways. The key is to understand the different level of digitisation across sub-sectors, geograpies and, to certain extent, demographics and address communication and training needs accordingly.

The four objectives of the workshop were achieved according to over half of the delegates and 97% of participants considered the information provided and the discussions held at the workshop useful for their future activities. 

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